I don't know whether this is a new protocol at theaters across the nation, but in my area of the world some of the theaters now make you pick an assigned seat as you purchase your ticket. You are of course required to then sit in said seat once inside the theater. The disadvantage of this is now people buying tickets online are picking seats days before the show. So even if you show up at a decent time the night of to get tickets you could get hosed on seating. So i decided to get my ticket online the night before for the show i saw last night just to be safe.
Things go pretty seamlessly. I get to the theater, scan my credit card, get my already paid for ticket and wander into the theater. About 5 minutes before the movie starts the theater begins to fill up. I, of course, have a couple sit down right next to me....in their 'assigned' seats. No seat in between us. They do have a seat empty on the other side of them. I also have a seat open on my other side. I figure after the movie starts i'll scoot over if it stays empty. Then i have 3 more people wander into my row on the other side. They don't sit in the seat right next to me, but this does mean i now won't be moving over. The movie starts and the seat on the other side of the couple to my right remains empty. I figure, sweet, maybe they will move down. Nope...not a chance. So now I'm stuck right next to this woman and what don't you know...she's chatty.
So now I'm awkwardly sitting too close to a person i don't know...who you would think could scoot over and she's gonna talk. The really awesome thing about the situation is I'm supposed to sit in my assigned seat...so im stuck. Even if I wanted to move, this whole 'pick before you enter' deal makes for really random seating patterns. The random empty seats I could move to are in awkward positions in the middle of aisles and groups of people.
So i spend the next two hours wondering how I'm not gonna shoosh this woman next to me. She tells her husband the names of all the random actors she recognizes. She reads every city name that flashes on the screen...out loud. It takes everything in me to not yell at her how we are all capable of reading. I then discover she isn't keeping up with what's going on. So she has to ask her husband whose wedding they are at and how old he thinks a certain character is. She asks what one characters name is and predicts what is going to happen after an important scene. She would also make this weird 'mmmm' sound during certain parts of the movie. I never did figure out what would happen on screen that would elicit that sort of verbal noise.
About 3/4 of the way through she had grown oddly quiet for about 20 minutes. I thought I just might be home free when suddenly her husband pulls out a bag of chips they had brought from home...a big bag...that wasn't open yet. I almost threw my purse at his head as he attempted for a full 30 seconds to 'quietly' open a bag that can not be opened quietly no matter how hard one tries.
Needless to say I am not a big fan of these new seating rules. With my new 42" tv and a surround sound at home along with a husband who doesn't talk during movies, I'm not sure how many movies I will see in the theaters this year. Especially if chatty cathy is assigned the seat directly next to me.