How will YOU Watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Are You a “Goldilocks” in the Theater?

How will YOU Watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Are You a “Goldilocks” in the Theater?

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Emotions will be at all ends of the spectrum when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters in December!

One month…
One month from today…
One month from today, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be officially released in theaters across the United States. From IMAX theaters and multiplexes, with stadium seating, premium sound, and perhaps even reserved seating; to charming, historical neighborhood theaters with old-fashioned flat seating, Star Wars will once again be gracing the cinematic stage.

Where will you be seeing this newest addition to the saga? Have you purchased your tickets yet? Will you wait in line outside, eagerly awaiting your turn to enter the theater? Will you need to?

Perhaps more importantly, where will you be sitting, once you’re inside?

The idea for this blog entry came from an article I read in my local newspaper about “The Goldilocks Syndrome” of choosing theater seats. Even with the advent of reserved seating now being offered in many theaters (my first encounter being when I saw Ant Man this past August), we all have our ‘just right’ place to sit and enjoy a movie.

What surprised me about this seemingly simple task, is how much research is on the Internet about the psychology of theater seating. One article claimed that the choice depended upon the “psychophysics” of the room. Most of us tend to choose seats toward the right side of the theater, in order to optimize right-brain recognition of faces and other visual stimuli (1).

Another article entertained the idea of personality type being a predictor of seat choice. Psychologist Hiromi Mizuki claims, for example, that if you choose a seat in the center and front, you are confident and decisive. By contrast, choosing a seat in a back corner suggests that you may be an unconfident onlooker: someone who wants to know what’s going on, but doesn’t want to be directly involved in a situation (2).

There were plenty of other research studies and hypotheses out there, but here’s my opinion of the ‘sweet seats’:

I try to sit in the middle section, closest to an aisle. Not too far up front, because I get sick if I’m too close to the screen, especially in 3D. Also, my neck gets to hurting from leaning back, and I don’t feel like there’s a good, panoramic view of the screen. The middle section is usually the best area for sound quality as well.

Close to an aisle is always a good thing. You know, in case one needs to use the facilities. I’m pretty much a stone bladder if I’m watching a movie in the theater, especially for the first go-around, but there’s always that chance.

If there’s a stadium-style theater with that one row just before the front section — the row with the metal bar to rest my feet on — perfect!

One thing that can be challenging, especially with a huge premiere like The Force Awakens, is to sit away from ‘that person.’ You know, the one on their phone, the one who can’t seem to NOT make comments every two seconds, who laughs at the wrong times, and who (goodness forbid, but I’ve witnessed it) falls asleep and snores during the film.

Now, granted, it may be difficult to disseminate that before the movie starts, but I can usually predict who that person (or persons) might be during the course of the previews and trailers. I’m not beyond moving myself. Once, I even turned around to two women behind me, who were incessantly chatting at a high volume during the overture and opening scenes of a movie. I simply said: “Are you going to talk the whole time? I’m just asking. Because if you are, no problem, but I’m going to move.” They shut up. I was happy.

Like all of you reading this right now, I’m SO looking forward to seeing this first installment of the Star Wars saga, once again gracing the silver screen…and my heart. I do have my tickets, and I will be fortunate enough to be able to see The Force Awakens in a relatively small theater facility, in a small enough town that there won’t be crazy droves of people through which to navigate. I have my tickets, and will arrive with two of my best friends in a timely enough manner, so we can Goldilocks our way to the perfect seats, Junior Mints in hand…very important.

How about you? What are your plans for choosing the perfect seat in which to witness Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time? How about the tenth time?

I would love to hear from you!

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(1) Chernick, M. (2014, November 25). Going to The Movies: The Seat Choice Dilemma (part 3). Retrieved November 16, 2015, from
(2) London, B. (2013, October 15). Where Do YOU Sit in the Cinema? Retrieved November 16, 2015, from

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  1. Lisa
    November 18, 2015 at 08:58 Reply

    I’m going by myself (twice, so far — one regular 2D, one 3D on an UltraScreen), and I’ll be in the second row, dead center, both times. 🙂

    1. Melinda
      November 19, 2015 at 09:25 Reply

      A bit down the line, of course, but you have the Jan. 10 viewing to which to look forward, too. I don’t know if the theater we’ve chosen has pre-selected seats from which to choose, but considering the fact the movie will have been out for almost one month by then, we’ll probably be in good shape to sit wherever we want. 🙂 I can’t wait to see TFA with you and our other cohorts! 🙂

      MTFBWY 🙂

  2. Ryder
    November 18, 2015 at 09:54 Reply

    So far I’m going once on Dec 17th, three times on Dec 18th, and two on the 19th. I prefer to sit in the middle section on the left side about 2/3 up. I like the aisle seat usually and I will be insulated from “that guy/girl” by my friends and family haha. I have reserved seats for all so far. Great article. I need to look up the psychology of choosing my seat and see what types of psychoses I have 🙂

    1. Melinda
      November 19, 2015 at 09:28 Reply

      Impressive number of times seeing TFA in such a short time span, Ryder. And I thought I overdo it (although, can one ever overdo seeing a Star Wars movie? 😉 ) by going three times in one 24-hour period! 😉

  3. Sandra
    November 18, 2015 at 15:17 Reply

    Unfortunately, my date is not going to be able to join me on December 17th. I am going with a good friend of mine and a fellow Fangirl. We have great seats. I’ll be dressing up for the premiere.

  4. Pam Bruchwalski
    November 18, 2015 at 17:57 Reply

    Oh. You know. I’ll be … with you and Erica. lol. And I can’t wait. You didn’t mention POPCORN??!! Not that I’m ever going to complain about JMints (yummmmm), but Jay. Come on. Popcorn… POPCORN!

    One more month…


  5. Erica
    November 18, 2015 at 19:56 Reply

    I’ll just be happy to be in the theater! I can’t believe it’s only a month away! Wooo-hoooo!

    Very fun entry. I love that there’s actually research on this stuff 🙂

  6. Melinda
    November 19, 2015 at 09:49 Reply

    What a great blog, Jay! 🙂 For optimum viewing and listening pleasure, I usually like to sit pretty much dead center in the theater. Sometimes we don’t get what we want, of course, and we have to “settle” for somewhere as close to that spot as possible. If Tom happens to be with me, we will sit a little off-center so he can be somewhat close to the aisle. (He usually will get up to replenish his popcorn bucket, and prefers to disturb as few fellow moviegoers as possible.)

    As far as seeing “The Force Awakens” is concerned, the first two times I am seeing the movie I will be in a theater with pre-reserved seats. Tom and I got the last two seats together at the December 17 showing we chose, and those seats happen to be in the first row of the upper level of seating. While we like going to movies at this particular theater, it really wasn’t our first choice to see TFA. However, considering the movie is coming out in DECEMBER, and I expect it to be fairly … chilly 😉 … on December 17, we chose the theater with pre-ordained seating so we wouldn’t have to wait outside for (at least) a couple of hours — for the chance to get the best possible seats together. (Our usual first-choice theater has open seating. And real butter for Tom’s popcorn. It’s worth the extra 50 cents. 🙂 )

    I’m going back to the same theater the following morning, this time alone, and, if I recall correctly, my lone seat is somewhere in the middle of the upper portion of the theater. That’s okay with me. Considering the fact that I’ll already have seen the movie, I like to be a little further back so that I have a wider outlook on what’s going on in the background. I love exploring the deep layers of Star Wars films. 🙂

    The only other tickets we have purchased already are for a couple of days after Christmas — when both of our girls will be home. We’ll be seeing the movie in 3D at a theater we usually don’t go to very often (just because it’s about 45 minutes from our house; we have two theaters within a 10-minute drive). When I was trying to procure tickets online when they first went on sale, I had a terrible time getting through. Erin, bless her heart, was able to — from LA, and got the first set of tickets she could get her hands on. She obviously has the magic touch. 😉 🙂 “Should I buy them?” she queried through a text. Frustrated by this point, I replied, “Yes!!!” Quite frankly, I didn’t care we’d have the extended ride to get to that particular theater. I’m pretty sure it’s open seating. At least it’s in a mall, and we might luck out and not have to wait outside … in winter. (Did I mention we live in the cold tundra of Wisconsin? 😉 )

    I hope you have an awesome time every time you see TFA! Say hello to your cohorts for me. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you all.

    MTFBWY 🙂

    p.s. I’m a Junior Mints gal, too! 🙂

  7. Melinda
    November 19, 2015 at 10:00 Reply

    By the way, Jay, I recall similar articles/studies about seat choice as it pertained to classrooms where teachers/professors allow students to sit wherever they like. (As a teacher, I bet you’re aware of this! 🙂 ) Studies that go back to the Dark Ages 😉 of when I was in school. (lol) The study results stipulated the same points as those to which you referred. I must admit that I think they ring truer in a classroom situation rather than in a movie theater. I know people who will take into account where the speakers are positioned on the walls — both for optimum listening, and those who don’t want the sounds emanating from the speakers pulsating through their bodies. (I’m all for great sound, but some sound systems are waaaaaaaaaaaay too loud. What kind of damage is done to our sensitive eardrums? Now, that’s a study worth conducting!) I know one individual who prefers a more central location, but always will sit on the aisle just because she KNOWS she will have to get up at some point to use the bathroom.

    Do you assign seats in your classroom? (I know it can make it easier on a teacher to learn her/his students’ names. . .) If you allow your students to choose their own seats, do you notice any personality traits of those who will sit at the front (yes, I do equate those students with confidence) compared to those who choose a seat toward the back (they’re usually more quiet, and don’t like to participate, in my opinion)? Just curious.


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