Independent Living Skills: Going to a Movie This Weekend?

Going to the movies with friends is a popular activity for groups of friends or for dating. What if you’re used to going with family members and you’re not sure what to do? Let’s review.

Planning Ahead

First of all, figure out which movie to see and plan your budget.

  • Theater schedules change each week, usually in the middle of the week.
  • See what your friend(s) want to see and make a group decision as to which movie you will see.
  • Which theater is showing the movie? If you are meeting your friends there, make sure your friends are going to the same theater.

Plan your budget. What can you afford?

  • Check ticket prices.
  • If you are going to get popcorn or other snacks, add up the costs.
  • To save money, think about going on a Saturday morning or during matinee hours, or to an older movie theater.
  • Short on cash? Rent a movie and watch it at someone’s house.

At the Theater

Arrive at the movie theater at least 30 minutes before the movie starts, or maybe earlier on the weekends or when you think it might be crowded. This will give you time to wait in line for tickets, get popcorn, find your seats, and use the restroom before the movie starts.

At the Ticket Window

While you are waiting in line, check the schedule and get your wallet out. The cashier will want to know:

  • the name of the movie,
  • the time of the movie, and
  • the number of tickets you are buying.
  • If you qualify for a student discount, have your student ID ready.
  • Have your money ready.


Popcorn and sodas are very expensive at the theater. Movie theaters may vary, but most do not like it if you bring in food. If they see you carrying a soda, they will probably make you drink it before entering.

  • You might share a container of popcorn if you’re with a group. This can be cheaper, especially if you get free refills.
  • You can also get a large soda and ask for courtesy cups to split the soda, if you think you can pour it without spilling.
  • Even better: Eat before you go and skip the refreshments.

During the Movie

During the movie, be comfortable, but respectful of the theater furniture and of other moviegoers:

  • If the theater is getting full, move to the center so that empty seats are closer to the aisle. If you sit on the aisle, be prepared for others to squeeze in front of you to get to their seats and again to get out when they need to use the restroom.  If you see a seat marked with a handicapped symbol, those are meant for people in wheelchairs and their friends who are sitting with them. Avoid those seats.
  • Feet belong on the floor: Don’t put your feet on the chair in front of you.
  • Take headphones to use if it’s too loud.
  • Put your phone on vibrate. No texting during the movie. Other moviegoers do not like the light coming from the phone and the click of the keys.
  • Speak to your friends using a quiet voice while you are waiting for the movie to start.
  • Once the movie starts, it’s best not to talk unless you whisper to your friend that you’re going to the restroom. Say “excuse me” if you need to step in front of people as you come and go.

After the Movie

It’s considered good manners to throw away your own trash as you leave the theater. If you are on a date, this will also make a good impression.

Enjoy the movie!  What other tips do you have?

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