There are few moments in life that society will get excited for. One of these events is the much anticipated movie premiere. The announcement of one of your favorite superheroes being made into a movie is very exciting and questions about what the movie will look like, run ramped through everyone’s mind. Serval months before the movie even primers, the movie studios will give a brief sample of what we will be in for and continue to drop morsels each week. Showing an action scene here or a short clip of the movie is enough for fans to crave more.
That is why when the movie Batman v Superman was released, I chose to observe the social norm of cell phone etiquette when in a dark movie theater. The society norm when it comes to cell phone use or any device that interrupts a public showing of a movie is strictly enforced by employees has well as the patrons that paid money to have a distracting free experience. Even before the coming attractions start, the message on the screen lets everyone know to be respectful and turn off all electronic devices. The rules are pretty clear and if anyone breaks the rules will pay with evil stares and loud direct comments.
Also the unwritten rule of no talking during the movie and giving away spoilers about what is to come is another type of movie theater norm. Besides a bright light illuminating the room, talking during the movie will yield the same results from others. If there was a movie jail, these people would be giving a life sentence that’s how serious the public take’s watching a movie they paid for. Especially one they have been waiting a long time to see. That is why I felt necessary to break the social norm and to see how long I could last before going to movie jail.
It has been a couple of weeks since the premiere of Batman V Superman was released, but it is still the number one movie in the country and people still cannot wait to see it including me. I decided to take my wife on a date night to the movies on the most popular night of all Friday night. I chose not to tell my wife about my experiment for the simple fact that I want a genuine reaction from her as well. I spared no expense with dinner and drinks before the movie. Even with all that we still had to get popcorn and treats to take into the show with us, because no one can watch a movie without that greasy, salty, buttery goodness.
When we entered the room where the movie was to be shown I selected a seat that was located in the middle, to observe the most people possible and to have the most impact. As we sat there waiting for the previews to start I noticed that almost all the seats where filled. The majority of the patrons were males and a younger demographic. I estimated that the average age of the males where between 25 to 30 years old and the mix of the younger crowd was between 16 and 20. With the small number of women in the theater the ages ranged from 22 to 30 years old.
The room was filled with all types of ethnicity and economic difference. I could feel the energy in the air as it got closer to show time. Listen to the others conversation | could tell that this was an important movie for them, which made me nervous for what I was about to do. I knew by looking at the crowd I was going to get an honest reaction. In my mind I had already pick out who was going to give me the hardest time and it was not going to be my wife. There was a bigger gentlemen about two rows behind me that I was a little worried about.
If this goes the way I think it will I probably will not like the results. The lights dim and the rules of cell phone use come brightly lit on the screen. Assuring the crowd that they will have a distraction free movie watching experience. After all the previews are done it is finally time for the main event. As expected the movie starts out with a bang and I’m hook right away. I could feel my face just staring at the screen with a blank look of ultimate concentration of all the action on the screen. This goes on for about 35 minutes till I remember that I had a social norm to break.
The whole time the room has been pitch black and silent, the only noise or lights are coming from center stage. I proceed to pull my cell phone out of my pocket and with my heart beating I pressed that button which changed the entire room. My phone lit up like it was the four of July. The brightness that came from my screen could be seen from the top to the bottom of the room. I then started to check my Facebook page for updates and to post about the movie. It was not long before I had several heads turn to my direction, my wife included. This was just the first stage of angry that I felt from there looks of emotion.
As I continued looking at my phone the stares became crumbles and whispers. I could hear them talking about me and how rude I was becoming. Then from behind, I was told in a not so polite way to shut off my phone. I was surprised at this point that my wife was not elbowing me in my side or grabbing the phone from my hands, so I continued to be annoying. It seemed like forever but realistically it was only approximately a minute or so, because any longer I think I could have created a mob. It took the third person telling me to put my phone away for me to conclude that this was a successful endeavor.
I was very happy to oblige them, because I wanted to get back to the movie without someone interrupting it. In conclusion, I have learned that breaking the social norms in certain settings might get you hurt. Having a social rule is not a bad thing, it helps everyone understand how to behave. Furthermore by complying with the social norm it provides a level of respect to others. No one wants to be that guy who just can’t get along. Conforming to the group is a way to flow downstream, but sometimes you’re up the creek without a paddle.