|21 August, 2019

This Dubai cinema has strict rules for moviegoers

Break any rule and the aforementioned ninja-like staff will remove you from the premises immediately

Image used for illustrative purpose. People watch a movie at a cinema in Wanda Group's Oriental Movie Metropolis ahead of its opening, in Qingdao, Shandong province, China April 27, 2018.

Image used for illustrative purpose. People watch a movie at a cinema in Wanda Group's Oriental Movie Metropolis ahead of its opening, in Qingdao, Shandong province, China April 27, 2018.

REUTERS/Aly Song

At the cinema, have you ever wanted to silence the couple chatting away to glory or snatch the phone from an incessant texter? Well, you can now curb that urge, for "ninja-like" staff will be on the prowl to escort out guests who distract their fellow movie-goers.

With its 'distraction-free screenings' option, Vox Cinemas has laid out four rules: No talking, no phones, no late arrivals and no guests under 18.

Break any rule and the aforementioned ninja-like staff will remove you from the premises immediately.

For now, the initiative is applicable only for specific movies (like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Kitchen, Queen of Spades and The Current War) at the Mall of the Emirates.

Michelle Walsh, chief marketing and innovation officer at Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, told Khaleej Times that the "chances are high" that the option would be expanded to other theatres across the region. "Our distraction-free screenings are intended for those who want to immerse themselves in every piece of dialogue and action sequence without the background chatter, the glare from bright phone screens or disruptive late comers. These special screenings are an express commitment between cinema-goers and Vox Cinemas to create an environment that is respectful of cinema etiquette. It will be enforced by the movie-goers themselves who have actively selected this screening and in doing so have agreed to arrive on time, put their phones away and refrain from talking."

The response to the initiative has been "overwhelmingly positive", Walsh said. "We're looking forward to the growth of this initiative across our cinemas."

Residents welcomed the move, with 25-year-old Naureen Zulfiquar saying she "has had it" with late comers. "People chat throughout the movie because they feel it's their right to do so. Don't even get me started on people barging into the cinema 15 minutes after the movie has started, waving their phone torch to avoid falling."

Anamika Prem Kumar, a student and movie fanatic, feels rather strongly about people using their phones at the movies. "I don't think I am the only person who absolutely hates it when people start using their phones in the theatre, especially when the scene is so gripping that I am on the edge of my seat. What gets to me even more is when some people attend to phone calls in the theatre."

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