‘Paranormal Activity 3′ Discussion: Worst Theater Audiences Ever?

Published 3 years ago by

Paranormal Activity 3 Audience Paranormal Activity 3 Discussion: Worst Theater Audiences Ever?

A funny thing happened as we were recording our Screen Rant Underground Podcast this week: talk turned to our review of Paranormal Activity 3, and aside from arguing about the issues with the plot, ending, and all the juicy Easter eggs and spoilers, there was one unexpected topic of discussion that each of us brought to the table: how rude, distracting, annoying and downright bad the audiences in our respective theaters were.

That strange coincidence got us thinking: did other people have their Paranormal Activity 3 viewing experience ruined? Might this film have actually brought together some of the worst movie theater audiences of recent memory?

Before we get to that discussion, some quick background: myself (Kofi Outlaw), and my fellow editors Ben Kendrick, Rob Keyes, and Anthony Ocasio (that’s “Oh-Cazio”) live in very different geographic areas – NYC, Colorado, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, to be exact. It’s not like we live in the same place, or are surrounded by the same types of people in any way, shape or form. We’re also not just talking about the general public: some of our screenings were press screenings, so this is in no way a commentary on any specific demographic or moviegoing “type” (if such a thing even exists).

But no matter who was in theater, or where that theater was, the fact remains that between the four of us we bore witness to just about every violation of our sacred rules for movie theater etiquette. We’re talking cell phone talking/texting, less-than-brainy quips shouted out at inappropriate moments, audience members providing their own commentary track for the entire movie, extended bouts of loud conversation or laughter after every scare…  the whole cornucopia of movie theater misbehavior was on display.

etiquitte header Paranormal Activity 3 Discussion: Worst Theater Audiences Ever?

How many of these rules can one movie audience break? Answer: ALL OF THEM.

In our upcoming Paranormal Activity 3 podcast you can hear us get into some of the reasoning for why people had such particular trouble sitting through this film (is the film too quiet? Too slow in between scares? Too hard for the ADD generation to sit through?) – though, admittedly, some of our more…impassioned rants may never see the light of day. Stay tuned for that explosive discussion, coming your way shortly. icon wink Paranormal Activity 3 Discussion: Worst Theater Audiences Ever?

In the meantime, we thought we’d put the question out there to you readers: How was your Paranormal Activity 3 viewing experience? Was it relatively enjoyable, or did you too find yourself in the midst of an audience from hell? Let us know in the comments.

While we’re discussing the film, also let us know how you would rate it in our poll below:

[poll id="207"]


Paranormal Activity 3 is now in theaters.

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  1. alot of rude people .. went to see it in houston texas on a friday night .. alot of it was high schoolers trying to be funny .. but yeah there was alot of rude people .. but alot of screamers too.

  2. For me, the audience was louder than the movie at certain points. The majority of them were all loud mouth teens.

  3. I think this article sort of misses the point of the genre completely. It’s the reason why we flock together to watch THE ROOM or TROLL 2. Now, I’m not saying that PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 is in that class of films, nor that it’s a bad movie whatsoever – in fact, I really liked it. And as much as I normally agree with absolutely everything in regards to “cinema etiquette” and have found myself loathing people that whisper or even take out their phones to check the time in other films, I didn’t find myself bothered in the slightest by the bad crowd for PA3. Actually, I found myself joining in with them.

    Here’s the thing: if you’re going to a scary movie like PA3 to sit quietly and scare the hell out of yourself in silence, just do it at home with a decent set up, or at a matinee in the middle of the day. But, just as I say that the communal experience isn’t exactly an important aspect of so-called “serious” filmgoing, I say the reverse is true for horror and comedy. I’m happy to sit alone in a theatre in silence during a drama in order to get maximum enjoyment from the film. But the same does not go for comedies and horrors, and while I would not appreciate crowd participation during a comedy (save for the awesomeness that is communal laughter), I think it only adds to the experience when you go to a scary movie with a ton of people who are willing to lose themselves in the film.

    And yes, I would agree that if people were talking CONTINUOUSLY throughout the movie to the point that it was affecting your ability to hear or enjoy the film, then fine, that’s something else. But in my experience, the general talking, laughter and participation was almost entirely situated around particularly scary or unsettling moments, either directly before or directly after. There’s something awesome about going “oh sh*t!” with hundreds of other people because you KNOW you’re about to be scared, or laughing at how high you jumped with dozens of people you’ve never met before.

    I’m an advocated of theatre etiquette because we generally go to the theatre to get the maximum viewing experience out of a film. I don’t go to a theatre to get maximum viewing experience out of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3. I went for the communal experience, and that includes – to a degree – crowd participation. And my crowd hit that degree right on the head, took me off of my normally-pretentious high-horse and let me just sit back and have a good time at the movies. I went to have fun, and I did, because of the people. If the movie is good (which I happen to think it was), then all to the better.

    Point is: it’s not comparable. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 is not THE SOCIAL NETWORK. You jump and laugh and scream at a haunted house. Nothing wrong with doing it in a theatre.

    • Devin G.

      There is a huge difference between appropriate participation and annoying, rude behavior.

      Gasping, jumping, nervous laughter to diffuse tension at certain points within a film are all appropriate.

      Talking on your phone, talking continuously throughout the movie, texting, etc. are NOT appropriate during ANY movie.


      • Vic my theater gasped, jumped and laughed so it was a good experience.

        Im ok with that on the PA movies but not some of the other films.

    • I just don’t get why you have to create a “decent” setup at home (thus waiting longer to see the movie) when you want to watch a scary movie. What’s a decent setup? A dark, relatively quiet environent….sounds like a movie theater! But people who want to be social and talk with friends and text are the ones who shouldn’t be at home? Interesting…

    • Frankly, I’d find it the exact opposite.
      A movie such as this requires tension and more importantly concentration. Anything that disturbs that ruins the experience.

  4. A lot of gigglish teen girls and teen boys who try to impress them by talking throughout the whole film

  5. surely you people would know why – it’s a horror flick, it attracts those type of people you can’t expect the same audience for a movie like the king’s speech to have the same demeanor in watching this movie. being scared seems to be a much more uncontrollably expressive emotion in public relative to any other emotion.
    for younger people (like <25), if it's scary, it's funny. and even more so if your mate next to you is scared s***less. to me it feels like your examples of the audience's misbehaviour are their petty ways of trying to overcome being scared.
    but on another note, this is not a crack at you people, but i find reviews for horror flicks redundant – there should only be one question to rate it – is it scary or not. does anyone really care about character development and whatnot in these movies?

    • yes, actually. Some of us do care about the character development

  6. actually, regarding the comparison of the king’s speech let me rephrase that – “you can’t expect the behaviour of an audience watching the king’s speech (or even the dark knight) to be the same as an audience watching this movie.

  7. Not just horror films…pretty much any movie nowadays has cellphones lighting up through the audience like steroid-enhanced lightning bugs in a meadow.

    Don’t EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEN get me started on the doofuses having conversations on their phones…

    • I’m with you danlister.

      It’s not just horror flicks. While it might be louder at horror screenings, the same basic rude behavior is on display at almost all movie showings.

      It’s become so bad, I almost don’t go to the movies anymore. I’ve found it more worth my while to just wait for the DVD and rent it, or even buy it sight unseen. That way I can watch it at any time I want and don’t have to worry about rude, narcissistic individuals who wouldn’t know etiquette if it punched them in the face.

      From babies to bratty kids and teens to texters to chatterers to the play-by-play announcers and even the chatty spoilers, I’ve just about seen and heard it all.

  8. I have yet to see “Paranormal Activity 3,” but generally films that cater to a younger demographic, and more specifically films that teens and young adults go to without any supervision, get these kind of rude behaviors from audiences. I had a similar viewing experience with “Fast Five” earlier this year in a crowded theater with many teenagers talking very loud over the movie. Part of my disinterest in seeing PA3 this weekend was because I knew what I would get from the audience, and it would put my out of the mood before the film even started. When I saw PA2, I went on a Tuesday matinee, where it was only me, my roommate, his girlfriend, and one other person in the back, and it presented an even moodier atmosphere than a packed house.

  9. This is why I pay a little more to go to the Alamo Drafthouse. They don’t put up with cell phones, talking or anything that takes away from the movie experience.

    • I wish there were Drafthouses or theater chains with similar rules all over the States.

  10. Saw it in Tucson AZ. Lots of texting a-holes who keep getting up and coming back. Not even just teenagers! Middle aged people too (who the hell do they text anyways??). It sucks cuz these days we pay real good money to watch movies and don’t need the experience hindered by bright distracting phone screens.

  11. This is precisely why I do not go see movies on weekend nights…and if it’s a majorly hyped-up movie (like Transformers or Captain America), I’ll wait until the weekend after.

    • You and me both pal, I’ve had to many run in’s with the obnoxious movie crowd this year. The most recent being for Drive.

      • it happened to me for Drive, too! There were probably only 15 people in the theater, but about 10 were talking. I dont know if the pace was too slow for them or the graphics made them uncomfortable, but no one could keep quiet.

        • The theater for me was 75% full and half of them were talking, laughing, making comments etc. -_- Seems they really went in expecting Fast five or something.

  12. I’m so glad this article exists…lol.

    Yeah, I went to see it saturday night at midnight (which may have been a mistake…theater was full of drunks), and I’m a HUGE fan of these movies. Not just because I like to be scared, either. I’m a fan of the whole mythology and the plot ( I care about plot holes, character development, ect.). There were parts of this movie I literally could not follow because so much dialogue was missed (namely, the last 15 minutes, if you’ve already seen it).

    If people want to go to a party, for God’s sake, go to a party. A theater full of people who not only want but EXPECT quiet should not have to be a captive audience to their stand-up comedy

  13. While I havent seen the film and never will given my feelings on this franchise and how it’s crap, but I’m curious was it really this movie or just movies in general these days?

    While I have not seen PA3 I have noticed a growing trend every year it seems worse and worse when I go to the movies. More people talking or throwing popcorn. I don’t even watch horror films where that type of audience is expected to an extent. I feel that it’s happening more and more regardless of the specific film playing people seem to just get more and more rude every year.

    I’d also like to add I think some people go to far with their sensitivity to it though. Talking, Throwing things and crying babies can be very annoying, but there are people here complaining about someone checking the time on their phone. seriously? How can time checking really bother you it’s as harmless an activity as there can be in a theater. Laughter is more annoying and distracting than someone looking at the time on their phone. Texting to a certain extent I can agree but it really depends on their phone. Someone texting on an iPhone shouldn’t bother anyone it’s quite so it’s not at all distracting, but older phones where every button makes a noise that’s annoying. I don’t text in the theater but most smart phone users who do don’t bother me. I have checked my time before and there is nothign wrong with it.

  14. Why do you think home theaters are popular? Theatres are public places.

  15. I haven’t seen PA3 but I do want to chime in here. The best way for me to stay away from crowds like what’s being talked about here is to never go to a theater in a Mall. I know that may be the only option for some people but I won’t do it anymore. The whole experience is terrible. Late entry’s, talking, texting, and worse of all parents bringing young children. But the worst thing about Mall Cinemas is the teenagers. I’m not saying every teenager acts out but you always know when a group of 6-7 walk in that they will be loud. Who here doesn’t start praying to the cinema gods that they don’t sit near you?

  16. Taking a more broader look on this, I think, from experience, that the audience etiquette goes down depending on the location of the theater. For example, a theater in Houston Texas on the more, “questionable” side of the city, while cheep, is most of the time full of rude, inconsiderate teenagers whenever a new movie is released. I can’t imagine the immaturity of those for PA3, but I’m sure it was just the same as any other movie; loud, obnoxious, and just plain rude.
    On the more, “upscale” side where I live, or the “newer” area, while we still have our idiotic teenagers, the audience is usually respectful of each other and want to enjoy the movies without any distractions, not including the laughs or gasps or screams, depending on which movie you see.

  17. I had a terrible experience with the audience of this movie! I went to the theater that’s right down the street from UCF and it was filled with a bunch of obnoxious people trying to hide their cowardice with what they think are funny jokes. I can deal with the screams, I guess, but the conversations after every scare are unnecessary. It got to the point where this one lady would not shut up, and some guy finally voiced what we were all thinking, “Shut the heck up” (to put it nicely). After yelling things back and forth, they eventually got up and were getting in each others’ faces, with the girl yelling, “Slap me!” This was all happening right at the extremely climatic ending of the movie and I found myself trying to watch both at the same time. Luckily, I was so impressed with the movie that the audience’s ridiculous behavior didn’t completely ruin it for me.

  18. My PA3 experience wasnt tooooo bad, but my PA2 experience was awful. Pre-teens running up and down the stairs all movie, talking, yelling at the screen, lots of laughing. The worst was when there was a really quiet scene in the movie, then someone yells loud (in a lame attempt to make people scream). I can live with this happening once. But kids in the crowd did this about 4 times. When seeing PA3, I purposely went to a lesspopular theater.

  19. Most people need to look at their cell phones or do their own commentary to keep the tension and suspense of what they are feeling from the movie down. Then again there are alot of children who don’t understand what proper public movie-going etiquette is. I’ll definately be seeing this movie at a 10:00am showing or at home to get a better experience rather than seeing in on a Friday night at 7pm with ever other person and their 12 year olds.

  20. I was ready to murder half the theater.

    Here is a possible thing theaters can do……
    If there are two screens showing the same movie, make one screen the mature adult and behaved teenager section. Make the other one a kind $#@hole concentration camp, and everyone there can yell and laugh and fight and talk as much as they want.

  21. SO STRANGE! Had the rudest audience ever in this movie! Talking, phones, people dropping things, shouting. What a weird coincidence!

  22. I haven’t seen PA3 (don’t have any real desire to neither), but I would like to point out that I had to endure an extremely rude audience when I saw “Inception” last year. Horror movies may get a pass with this sort of stuff, but I think we can all agree that a movie like “Inception” needs your complete and undivided attention! No talking. No texting. And for the love of God, would you drunks please stay at home!!!

    It’s no coincidence I rarely go to the theater anymore. Home video is looking better and better….

  23. These teens need a good beating… I KNOW my friends or I NEVER acted like the teens do these days and I’m only in my mid 30′s.. Welcome to the entitlement generation with the teens of today.. They suck

    I’m embarrassed to say I was forced to sink to their level over the summer. I went to see Green Lantern and one of the good parts (when he got to Oa) and this SOB teen actually gets up, walks to the wall in the middle of the theatre and takes a phone call!!! People shushed her but she can care less. I had 1/2 an iced coffee left and launched it at her. Not a direct hit but she got drenched. I then received several claps and the teen became angered and told the theater to ‘F’ off and walked out.

    Again, not my proudest moment but it got the job done in that case because she never returned.

    • Pity it wasn’t hot.

  24. I get these situations at every movie I go to. I credit the liberal public school system and the “everyone gets a trophy, you’re special and you can express yourself however you want” mentality. There are no consequences for bad behavior anymore and kids/people know it. I cannot believe theatre audiences these days.

  25. The audiences for all three paranormal movies weren’t that bad in our viewings but I heard comments like “There’s no story!”, “What the eff was that all about!” and “Soooo slow!” which made me think the audience was full of ADHD sufferers and/or people who don’t go into movies with informed knowledge about the movie they are paying for. These days too if a story doesn’t hit in you in the face like a baseball bat people can’t follow it. At least most genre flicks with complicated goings-on like Inception have fellow geek audiences who can grok the plot but alas, these are not the people going to the Paranormal movies.

  26. My friend and I went to see it Friday at 4:30pm. figured we’d catch the early show since it was convenient. The theater was quite empty. Not including us there were maybe 6 or 7 other groups of people so around 30 in total for a theater that sits probably around 250+.

    The people directly behind us were narrating the entire movie, people two rows down and a bit to the left were on their cell phones the entire time, couple back right were laughing and making noises and one guy actually went to the exit next to the screen and stood there holding the door open while he had a smoke. Definitely the worst theater experience I’ve had.

  27. I found these movies to be more effective in scaring people at home, alone, in the dark. A theater (because of the people) would be like you said in the article; distracting.

  28. My audience was actually ok, probably because it was a matinee showing and most people here usually go to evening showings, so there were like 25 people. The audience was pretty good except for the lady in the corner who brought three kids who couldn’t have been older then 8 and a baby that kept screaming and crying every so often, it felt like half the movie. She only took him out twice.

    Who brings 2-8 year olds to R rated horror films?

  29. I had an awful time while watching PA3 on Sat. Im from Michigan by the way. It wasn’t even an evening show. IT WAS A 5:15 Start time. Anyways, lots of kiddies and teeny boppers. Talking. Cell phone texting. Most annoying of all though was that it felt like the entire audience was laughing thee asses off at things that weren’t meant to be comical at all. This is not a comedy film. “Why the hell are the laughing?”, I would ask my girlfriend who attended with me. I just don’t get it. I should have known better and gone to a morning show like I usually do about 99% of the time when I go to the theater. I just thought for this one time it would be more fun to see it with a crowd of people, boy was I wrong.