There used to be a time when going to the movies meant getting there early to stake claim to the best seat in the house.
Because let’s face it, sitting in the front row was cool when you were a kid … that is until you realized how sore your neck was for the next three days.
Nowadays, thanks to online seat reservations, you can skip the trailers and strut into the theater all the way up until the movie starts (which I don’t recommend btw, because it’s rude) knowing full well that your seat has been reserved. But that’s not the only thing that’s changed when it comes to seating in today’s cinemas.
What is the best seat in a movie theater? And why? Let’s do some digging to make your next movie-viewing experience your best one yet … comfort-wise at least. I can’t control some of the garbage Hollywood is putting out there.
It was a simple idea but one that has made a huge impact on going to the movies in recent years. Movie theaters are great because they have an enormous screen, right? Even bigger and more grand than your 70” TV or projector. But, your home is great because you have your own cozy, reclinable chair. Your special spot.
Well, it took a few decades, but someone finally put the two together and introduced the home movie theater experience to the actual cinema experience. Theater giants like AMC and others have taken to the trend to make their multiplexes as cozy as possible with reclining seats. The only problem now is fighting the urge to nod off during the show.
At some point down the line, popcorn, soda and candy just weren’t enough. We wanted the luxury of a kitchen at our disposal without having to get up and miss vital parts of the movie to order. And our pleas were answered in the form of dine-in theaters. Places like Alamo Drafthouse and AMC (some of their screenings) offer a full-on menu of appetizers, entrees, desserts and a plethora of booze. You’d think having a server wait on you during a showing would be distracting, but the process and flow of how it’s done is pretty seamless, so you never miss any of those mind-blowing action scenes, eye-covering jump scares or vital-to-the-story plot points.
It’s no surprise that the cinema experience had grown stagnant. So, theaters everywhere started turning back to the drawing board for ways to entice viewers with something different. Something more interactive. Cue D-box motion seats.
These seats are the pinnacle of the movie theater experience when it comes to interactive action and horror movies. They’re synced with the movie to add movement during pinnacle parts. Imagine not only watching the Millennium Falcon complete the Kessel run in 12 parsecs, but actually feeling your seat rumble and tilt from side to side as it did so. Or, getting the full fear of the supernatural from your chair rumbling uncontrollably right at the moment the next jump scare strikes. It makes what was once only considered a viewing experience an interactive one.
It’s all about position
Okay, so not every theater offers recliners, motion seats and dine-in options. So, what’s your next best move? Well, it really depends on your taste.
If you’re looking to have the most serene experience, then the back row is your best bet for peace and quiet. No one to talk or chew loudly behind you. Or put their grubby feet up on your chair. It’s just you and the projector.
If you’re looking for the optimal viewing angle, then smack dab in the middle of the theater is your calling. Here, you’re more susceptible to noise and having to walk over people if you need to use the restroom (try not to drink all the soda), but you’ve got technically the best viewing seat in the house.
If you want that easy route out of the theater for a quick restroom break or popcorn refill, the aisle is where you need to be. You’ll also have to deal with the runway lights though and those can be somewhat annoying.
Looking for a more isolated experience? Then the sides are your island. Sitting on the sides (which typically seat 2-4 people) gives you the seclusion you may want from the rest of the noise and commotion of theater goers, but the tradeoff? You’re not going to have a great angle to view the movie. Keyword being angle ...
It’s safe to say that the front row is the worst spot to sit. Do it only if you absolutely have to … or if you just like being incredibly uncomfortable and enjoy not seeing all that is happening on screen.
So, after all that, what’s the best seat?
For me, I’m a dead center guy when I don’t have the luxury of motion seats, dine-in service or recliners. But, if you’re lucky enough to have any of the latter three at your local theater, then I think you already know the answer.