It must be whinging about cinemas week. After the Nova rubbish on Sunday I went to see A Dog’s Dream at the Greek Film Festival at the Palace Como Cinema on Monday night. They have a stunning foyer, a good bar, make reasonable coffee and have comfortable seats with wide isles. They also do allocated seating for all sessions, even when there are only 30 people in a cinema that seats 300. The film was quite good – slow dreamy magic realism and surrealism – David Lynch Greek style. Gorgeous lead actress in a Franka Potente / Run Lola Run fluorescent red wig. A few people walked out, and there were about 50 in the audience.

dream say NO to allocated cinema seating

The Greek Film Festival is interesting in that it attracts a mostly Greek Australian audience. The older Japanese man and the younger skippie biker (me) were the only 2 people in this session not speaking Greek to each other. The French and Italian festivals attract a wider audience, but their national cinemas are better known and more broadly appreciated.

It’s only an occasional experience for a skippie Australian to be suddenly be placed in a minority position in a popular location within Australia. There are many questioning looks – what’s he doing here? He doesn’t look Greek! He’s not speaking Greek. Maybe he’s a student or an academic or something. He’s not a threat to us. I can look away now…

Now back to the point of this rant. Allocated seating. What’s the point? It takes longer to sell each ticket as the patron is asked where in the cinema they would like to sit, and this is allocated to the best of the booking person’s ability given the popularity of the session. When the cinema is mostly empty, it’s pointless and absurd.

It doesn’t encourage people to arrive on time, as it removes the first comes first served philosophy of seat allocation. It shifts the queue from the cinema to the ticket office, as you can buy tickets at any time then stuff around then walk into the cinema late and sit down in the best seats. It slows down the ticket queue. People don’t understand and don’t pay attention. They can’t see the seat numbers, and don’t care. They sit anywhere. They deliberately disobey a rule that makes no sense. They empower themselves as individuals.

Then along come the sheep who want to obey every rule, and want to sit in their exact seat although the cinema is mostly empty. I like some personal space when it is available so I never site next to anyone else if there is sufficient room. That means I don’t sit in my allocated seat as that is always next to someone.

The allocated system squashes 50 people together into an island in the middle of the cinema. No one wants this. People want space. If you arrive late you suffer and get a less favourable seat. Get used to it.

The same thing happened at the Tuesday night session of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby that I saw at the Hoyts cinema in Melbourne Central. Allocated seating. Less than half full cinema. A clash between the wolves and the sheep about following rules. People stuffing around and moving seats, which is much noisier and more time consuming than self allocation as per most cinemas. Much amusing social psychology to observe.

Message to all cinemas: get rid of stupid allocated seating and recognise that your system increases inefficiencies and does not take into account real human behaviour.

say NO to allocated cinema seating

5 thoughts on “say NO to allocated cinema seating

  • 22 April 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Hi I’ve just come across your blog and I too dislike allocated seating for many of the reasons you’ve mentioned, also you get into the cinema and the people next to you are talking or smell or the person in front is really tall and you can’t see etc, in the old days you could just change your seat, now with allocated seating you can’t.
    Yeah I really hate allocated seating, but so far only Event cinemas have brought it in, however Hoyts are also now planning to bring it in. I have started a petition against allocated seating. Please, please, please sign it and email your friends and ask them to sign it, so we can stop Hoyts bringing in allocated seating, because it’s a slippery slope next it will the independent cinemas.

    Please sign my petition against allocated seating:

    • 22 April 2012 at 8:39 pm

      Hoyts in the Melbourne CBD have had allocated seating for years now.

  • 22 April 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Have they? I’m in NSW and they haven’t introduced it here as yet and I’m hoping that if enough people sign my petition that they won’t

  • 22 April 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Even if they already have it where you are, if you dislike it still worth signing my petition as it may mean that some of them will remove the allocated seating


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