/ Travel & Leisure

I go to the cinema to watch films – not 19 adverts

People bored and asleep at cinema

Everyone expects some ads when they go to the cinema, but 19 just kills the whole experience. Is it just my local cinema abusing the ad breaks or is this a widespread problem that needs to be addressed?

I’ve recently come back to the UK after living in China for two years, and one of the things I was really looking forward to was going to the cinema to see all the new films.

Western film releases are heavily controlled in the People’s Republic, with only the endlessly repetitive comic-book hero blockbusters making it into the multiplex.

So, I couldn’t wait to watch the latest releases. Until, that is, I actually went to my local cinema.

Too long to wait for the film

I know that cinemas are finding the current economic climate tough, but the number of ads the audience is forced to sit through is over-the-top.

Last night, before I watched the screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy the audience was subjected to 19 adverts, five film trailers, one booming sound system trail and an excruciating Orange phone break ‘turn your phone off’ reminder. It was 28 minutes before the ‘8pm’ screening actually started – no wonder the man in the next row started snoring!

And that’s not my worst example. Nearly 50 minutes of bum-numbing tedium preceded my trip to see ‘Harry Potter and the Second Half of the Book that was Too Long to Make into One Film’. The audience nearly cried with relief when the film classification certificate appeared on the screen – there was sarcastic hand-clapping all round.

Ads are having the opposite effect

As far as I’m concerned, making me sit through so many adverts actually reduces my desire to buy any of the products I’ve been exposed to. I resent paying my ticket fee to be forced to watch ads for three different types of beer I won’t drink and four separate ads for a car I would rather throw myself in front of than have to watch again (and will certainly never consider driving now).

I wouldn’t mind a couple of adverts followed by some tempting trailers for future films, but 19 is just too many. Is my local cinema in the minority with this extended ad break before the film? I hope so, because it’s really making me reconsider my desire to go to the cinema. I go to be entertained, not bored and frustrated.


It is good to read this. Ads do put me off buying products and it is good to hear that I am not the only one.

Gloucester too! says:
25 September 2011

Couldn’t agree more Victoria. I stopped going some time ago as I also found the smell of popcorn etc. off-putting and the sticky floors unpleasant. Last week my wife persuaded me to try again for a recent release but I was disappointed again. It was the same as before but now there’s the added distraction of people constantly ‘playing’ with mobile ‘phones, even during the main feature. Oh for the days of my youth, when there were just a few local ad’s, the main feature, an intermission (when the usherettes brought out ice creams or KiaOra to buy) and then a second film all for the price of a single ticket. No wonder cinema going was so popular then, you didn’t feel ripped-off and the atmosphere was pleasant!


Count me in as another miserable so and so here. I ‘used’ to go to the ubiquitous multiplex a lot – I stopped going about 3 years ago.
Noisy Kids.
Tedious Adverts.
Allocated Seating.
Too Loud Audio.
Sticky Floors.

They should advertise the actual FILM START times. You don’t go to a football match and wonder what time kick off will be !

Though funnily enough last time I went to a Showcase Cinema, it did go straight in to the film at the appointed hour, so I missed the first 15 minutes as I always used to go in 15 mins after the start time to miss the ads…..

North Wales says:
25 September 2011

I agree with all of the above coments except that I love the trailers and am a supporter of allocated seating. I have noticed a growing trend of adults talking through the main film, usually groups of women who are getting together to catch up. Why they don’t meet up for coffee or a meal instead I cannot imagine. Feet on seats or on the back of the seat in front is another ignorant habit I cannot abide – why do cinema staff ignore this when they have night vision cctv to observe the audience? Very often I just wait for the dvd to come out just so I don’t have to endure blood pressure rises / confrontations or nausea from wafts of cheesy nacho’s and popcorn.


This is why on the rare occasion i go to the cinema i arrive half an hour late. No que for the tickets as everyone has already rushed in, no que for the food and drink as everyone rushed in early to sit in the screen and watch Ads. Usually timed just brilliantly.


I don’t mind a few ads on the whole, but there are two that really annoy me:

1. Those horrendous Orange adverts that piggyback on a forthcoming film. The ad using the trailer for Potiche was particularly annoying – anyone who speaks even basic French could work out the entire plot of the film just from this patronising and ‘comically’ mis-subtitled advert.

2. The cola advert in Cineworld that says ‘There’s still time for a Coke’ before the film starts – when I’ve already been sitting there for 20 minutes, the last thing I want to hear is that the film won’t be starting for at least another 10 minutes. Like the Orange example above, it just damages the brand that is doing the advertising.

(I did love the Coke advert last year with the animals and insects stealing a bloke’s bottle of cola – it worked great on the big screen).

John Loughborough says:
23 March 2015

You have just fallen for the advertisers clever trick, the annoying ones get remembered!
But that aside I agree whole heartedly with this thread, not been to cinema for a while went today to see a film that started at ‘2.55pm’ the film actually started at 3.30!!! As it was a matinee there were lots of retired people watching, So, Showcase Leicester when did it finish? just after 5! what a lovely time to leave town, had it started at 2.55 we would have missed the rush hour, but hey that’s not their problem is it. The ads and trailers have put me off again for a while.

Sophie Gilbert says:
26 September 2011

I’m showing my age here, but I used to love going to the cinema when there was a shortie first (short length film), usually a documentary, a cartoon, or a short, quirky, “arty” film, then there was a break with the lights back when an usherette sold icecream and other nice things, then they would show a few ads, which usually were a pleasure to watch on the big screen, and then finally there was the main, feature length film. People would all arrive on time and find a seat they were happy with without disturbing anyone in the dark, they would stop talking the second something appeared on the screen, and they didn’t make any other noise, munching or otherwise, for the rest of the show or the usherettes would get them telt! Going to the cinema was an absolute treat. Now it’s just about a chore and certainly not worth the money.


Call me weird but I actually enjoy the adverts before the film, especially ones where the creators actually go to the effort of making an effort for the big screen – surround sound effects and dramatic scenes, car adverts do this very well!

I’m with Martyn though, the stupid Orange adverts are unnecessary, as are the ones trying to sell me the overpriced cinema confectionery; if I’d wanted it I would have got it when I walked past the kiosk!

I also love the upcoming film trailers, without them I probably wouldn’t know what was on at the cinema and what I’d like to go and watch.