Ask LH: Is It Acceptable To Hold A Place In A Movie Queue For My Friends?

Dear Lifehacker, I have tickets for the midnight screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unfortunately it isn’t reserved seating! My friends won’t be finishing work until later, but I have all the tickets and will be getting there quite early. My question is, what are the rules for cinema queuing?

Is it okay to hold their places in line? Should I make up a sign that tells other folks that I’m holding a position? Being mid-30s and not a huge movie buff, this whole experience is new to me. This is a big night for so many people and I don’t want to be a dick about it! Thanks, Cinema Newbie

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Dear CN,

There are no fixed and definitive rules when it comes to cinema queuing. Etiquette is determined by the mood of the crowd; particularly those nearby who are directly affected by your actions.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s usually acceptable to hold a place in line for one or two people. Any more than that, and you run the risk of pissing off everyone around you.

Watching a new Star Wars film on opening night is a huge event and comradery among attendees is likely to be high. As long as you aren’t holding a place for lots of people, the rest of the crowd will probably turn a blind eye.

Just be aware that the event is going to be tremendously packed. There’s a very high chance that your friends won’t be able to physically reach you, even if the crowd is trying to be accommodating.

This means you will need to save a seat for them once inside the cinema. Agree on the row beforehand so they will be able to find you in the dark and come equipped with drinks/jackets/bags so you can “reserve” the seats around you. Good luck!

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