I am not a particularly strict parent, in part because I don’t have the look that I envy so much in other parents: That ability to quiet one’s children with a well-placed stink-eye. The only consistently effective tool I have in my arsenal of parenting is silence, which really unnerves my kids and which I seldom resort to (“It’s psychologically damaging,” my wife says. “But it works!” I say).
There is, however, one rule I have that is abided by above all else because it is the most important rule in our household, a rule that I have emphasized repeatedly since the beginning, and one that I repeat multiple times before every single movie we attend: “There is no talking in the theater.” It is a sacred space. If you have questions, wait until the end of the movie to ask. If you have to pee, hold it. If you can’t hold it, quietly tap me on the shoulder. If you are scared, close your eyes. But under no circumstances are you to speak. It’s been a very hard rule to instill, but one that has stuck.
Cinépolis Junior wants to undo all that work, however, by opening a chain of movie theaters (starting with two in Los Angeles) with playgrounds inside. No, not in the lobby, which might be nice for children waiting for a movie to start. I’m talking about playgrounds in the fucking theater.
No, and f*ck you.
I mean, why? One, a kid will never watch a movie if there is a ball pit to be played in, so it’s pointless to even take them to the movies instead of a playspace. Two, no parent will ever be able to enjoy a movie if they have to keep an eye on their children, who will be going down slides and playing in a ball pit that’s likely carrying enough germs to infect an entire city. Who designed this? Were any parents consulted? Because parents don’t just sit back and relax while their kids play freely with strangers. We keep an eye on them, because we’re not neglectful monsters. Watching them would make it difficult to pay attention to the movie, and the running and screaming of a million little kids probably wouldn’t help matters, either.
I mean, if they want to set these playgrounds up in the next room over and hire well-trained supervision, well-vetted supervision to keep an eye on our kids for us? Like an IKEA? Maybe. But even then, I don’t think there’s a legit scenario where a kid is going to play uninterrupted for two hours while his or her parents are a room away without asking for their mom or dad to come in.
Basically, this idea makes no sense, it’s a total bastardization of the movie-going experience, and as a parent of children who would love this concept, I hate it.