Sittin' in the front row

posted by Michael Zoldessy on December 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Medium

In his blog in the Chicago Sun Times the other week, Roger Ebert discussed cinema seating preferences. He used to prefer middle but he’s gravitated towards the back over the years for easy bathroom access.

Where do you like to sit?

(Thanks to Gramophone Maryland for providing the photo.)

Comments (11)

Keith
Keith on December 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Dead center near the front. I go to see movies on the big screen. If i sat in the back i might as well stay home.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I also go to see the big screen, but I like to sit in the back! In Radio City Music Hall,the back or upper balconies are too far away, but in most movie theaters today (historic or newer) it isn’t that far away. Today’s stadium seated movie theaters have such large screens, I like the view better from the back, getting the whole picture especially for scope films, and not looking up at the screen.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on December 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Being a typical far-sighted movie fan I have found the rear seating is best for me. One misses the fuzz when seated down front and typically the film is best focused from the back. The only drawback is those idiots who are totally obsessed by checking their cellphone for a text message. And oh yes, how I so enjoy getting in their face regarding the house rules of turning OFF the phone during show time. I’m NOT at all polite!!!

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I like to sit near where the guardrails stand above the non-stadium seats at the AMC in Rockaway so I can get immersed into the picture. Same for IMAX digital. For real IMAX, i sit in the middle row to get the whole picture. Omnimax i can sit anywhere.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I like to sit near where the guardrails stand above the non-stadium seats at the AMC in Rockaway so I can get immersed into the picture. Same for IMAX digital. For real IMAX, i sit in the middle row to get the whole picture. Omnimax i can sit anywhere.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Nor should you be polite Simon. Those who busy themselves with their electronic gadgets during a movie presentation do not deserve to be treated with courtesy.

As for my own seating preferences, I guess it depends on the theater. When I was younger, I used to like sitting up in the 4th row center in any of the rooms at the Sunrise Cinemas – as I would at most of the local multiplexes of the day. I enjoyed having the screen fill as much of my field of vision as possible. At some of the larger theaters I attended (like the ones in Times Square and 42nd Street), I’d sit a bit further back, like maybe 7th or 8th row to compensate for the screen size, but the idea was the same. To this day, I still sit in those areas at places such as the Ziegfeld Theatre or the “Loew’s” auditorium at the AMC Loews Linclon Square. And of course, at the upstairs auditoriums of old movie houses that were cut in two, three or four (like the UA Midway or Lynbrook Theatre), I would always sit in the very first row with my feet up on the low railing, since the screen was always pushed back across an expanse of drop ceiling above the former orchestra level below.

However, in recent years, I’ve started sitting a bit further back, for the very reasons Howard mentioned above. The typical stadium-style auditorium is divided by the wide cross-aisle where you enter the room. I usually sit in the 2nd or 3rd row up from this aisle and always try to center myself with the screen as best possible. This allows me not only to take in the entire screen comfortably, but to view the image on the same horizontal plane as its center, making for a much more comfortable experience.

There are a couple of rooms at the UA Westbury Stadium 12 – one of which has been retrofitted for IMAX (or LieMax, if you prefer) – that are quite large. In these auditoriums, I actually do like the other side of the aisle, closer to the screen, about 2 or 3 rows down. Due to the size of these rooms, I find going up from the cross-aisle diminishes the size of the screen (particularly for IMAX and 3-D presentations) just a hair too much for my liking.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on December 9, 2011 at 6:43 am

In a theatre with 140 or more seats: Center, 2/3 of the way back.
In a theatre with less than 140 seats: Center, very back row.

Flix70
Flix70 on December 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I like the back row so no one can sit behind me and kick the seat through the entire show.

MPol
MPol on December 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

When I go to the theatre, I like to sit in the center, or 2/3 to ¾ to the back of the theatre, yet as close to the aisle as possible so that if I need to make a pit stop( get the drift?), it’ll be easy for me to do without having to impose on the people sitting near me.

RickB
RickB on December 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Somebody once told me that the optimum is to estimate how wide the screen is, and then sit that far back from the screen. I’ve never seen that confirmed anywhere though, and I’ve never really tried to put it into practice.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on December 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Back row, for the same reason as Flix70.

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