Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

How Should You Deal with Someone Who Keeps Using Their Phone at the Cinema When You Are Trying to Watch a Movie?

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to sit near to someone at the cinema who takes out their phone during a movie, you’ll know how distracting and annoying it can be. Whilst a quick check for something super-important may be forgivable, constantly playing with your phone in a dimly-lit space, makes it hard for others around you to focus on the movie that they’ve paid good money to see. So, what should you do about it? Ask them politely to put their phone away? Call a staff member to deal with the issue? Lob popcorn and other random confectionary in their general direction until they get the hint? Or accept that the days of cinema-etiquette are a thing if the past, and wait until the movies you want to see are released on DVD or on your streaming service?

Faced with this dilemma, one disgruntled movie goer opted for launching a couple of missiles of buttery popped corn at the offender, because if you can’t stop someone’s anti-social behaviour, why not give them a taste of their own medicine? But, when relaying his experience to colleagues the following day, they were shocked at his behaviour, telling him that this is the way things are these days, and the person with the hard-core phone addiction didn’t do anything wrong! What do you think?

The title is pretty self-explanatory… but here are the details…

We went to see Dune 2 (HIGHLY recommended) last night… in a VIP theatre with comfy seats and table service… which I mention because to attend, you must be 19+ — they serve real drinks.

Seated two rows ahead of us, were three young women… 19-22 I’d guess.

They didn’t shut up during any of the previews, and spoke loudly to each other throughout the movie… which is annoying, but, unfortunately, hardly unique these days.

But what was incredibly annoying… starting at about 20 minutes into the movie, one of them got onto her phone. She was only two rows ahead and it was full brightness, so it’d be an understatement to say it was distracting. She’d text, scroll instagram, watch TikTok videos… for a few minutes… then put it down. Ten minutes later, out came the phone again.

After the third time, I said, quite loudly, “Put the phone away!” She looked back, gave me a look like “STFU old man”, but put it down. And then, 10 minutes later, pulled it out again. Again, full brightness.


So I got a piece of popcorn and threw it at her… hit her on the head. As you can imagine, she turned around… “Are you fuckin serious right now?!”

“Yeah, I’m serious, can’t you live without your phone for a couple of hours?”

“Shhh!”, said someone

“Shut up!”, said someone else.

She put it away… and then, maybe 20 minutes later, out it came again.

I threw another piece of popcorn, which barely missed but flew by her face. She put the phone away and it stayed away for the rest of the movie.

Nobody stood, nobody clapped, nobody really cared. And that might have been the end of it, except after the movie, she quite bluntly said to her friend as we were walking out, looking at me, “That’s the asshole.”

In telling others about this this morning, I’ve come to understand that movie etiquette has changed from when I was 20. Back then, of course, there weren’t phones… but it was unheard of to engage in behaviour that’d be distracting to others. And when phones appeared 30 years ago, you’d NEVER get on it during the movie, and if you had to, you’d walk out and deal with it. But these days, this is par for the course.

Anyway, if I’m paying $25 per ticket plus food plus drinks (expensive!) plus parking for a night out and a true theatre experience, I’d like to enjoy it with what I think is the environment all of that deserves. I can watch movies at home and get on my phone all I want, for free. This is supposed to be different.

Am I out of touch? AITA? Is this ok these days?

And maybe that behaviour is not OK, but AITA for throwing a couple of kernels of popcorn at someone? It was certainly effective.

Commenters, however, were not in agreeance with OP’s colleagues, with many people agreeing that using your phone in a cinema is the height of rudeness.


They need to bring back public punishment for people that use their phone at the movies.  (Rude_egg_6204)

NTA. People like her are the reason I will only watch movies in my house, or at the drive-in we’re lucky enough to live near. (Librarianatrix)


Whoever is saying phones and talking loudly are normal are ridiculous. You don’t make excessive noise in any theater during a showing/performance. They literally tell you at the start of every movie not to use your phone. I’d have complained to the theater and if I had to get up and miss the movie I’d expect to be compensated. In those drinking/eating theaters there’s always a server running through – they absolutely should have handled that. I’ll say that most servers will come running of you stand up your menu so maybe hold on to a menu for this purpose next time. If the staff won’t do anything, I’d leave a review letting others know they won’t enjoy a quiet viewing experience there.

NTA you tried to handle it like an adult, they responded with childishness. They got what they gave. Nonby_Gremlin)

In fact, people weren’t even mad at him for throwing popcorn at her, and felt that she deserved it.


Theatre employee here! While you technically should’ve gotten an employee or manager to handle the situation, I can’t blame you. I probably would’ve thrown my whole ass drink or shoe at her

She should not be at the movies if she can’t get through it without being on her phone. Phone usage in the theaters is strictly prohibited except for emergencies, in which case the person should exit the theater and use it outside. (Nightingale0666)


NTA- this was the perfect response lol. Getting hit by a piece of popcorn isn’t going to hurt anyone any more than her being on her phone hurt anyone, this is the exact level of petty we should all strive for. (Confident-Baker5286) 


Jaffas are better as they make a big ‘clonk’ sound when they hit someone’s head…. Just saying 🤷‍♀️ (SellyCrystalLover)

One commenter even shared the novel way staff in Hong Kong handled similar situations in the cinema, and we think it’s genius!

Interesting way to handle things I experienced in Hong Kong. There were a couple of attendants at the side of the room and the second you turned your phone screen on they would point laser pens at the phone. It’s quite jarring to suddenly have a bright red laser shining on you (your phone/hand, not anywhere near your face) and it works every time! (khrys1122)

What do you think? Are phones in cinemas par for the course these days, or is it still against cinema etiquette?

Want to get top trending news, recipes, giveaways and the hottest deals delivered straight to your inbox once a week?

* Indicates required

Email Format:



Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.