I saw 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' yesterday knowing that it would be a packed theater, even though I get antsy in packed theaters. When I go to a movie theater I have certain requirements to make my movie experience the most enjoyable:

Buffer Zone - Optimal viewing for a movie requires at least a one seat buffer zone between you and any other movie patron, excluding the person who came with you. I want both armrests. I want both cup holders. I want to put my coat in the buffer seat so that I don't have to cram it down my back and squirm throughout the movie. I had no buffer zone.

Prime Seating - The most ideal location in the theater is what I call "center/center." I want the seat in the center of the row that is in the center of the theater. For me this seat has the optimal viewing distance from the screen and puts you in the exact center of the surround sound system. It also leaves you least susceptible to having to let someone out of your row to use the bathroom, get popcorn etc. Once the movie starts, I do not want distractions. I did not have prime seating.

Early Arrival - This is the key to achieving a buffer zone and prime seating. Arriving at the theater at least a half hour before showtime usually is enough to ensure buffer zone and prime seating, but with major film releases on opening weekend this is not always the case, so you must adjust accordingly based on film popularity and time of day. Arriving early also insures that you do not miss any trailers before the film. I didn't miss the trailers (including the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug which I've now seen a bazillion times. Release the damn thing already!) however I did not have an early arrival.

After leaving too late to go to the mall to eat Panda Express (no panda's were harmed during lunch) my girlfriend and I arrived at the theater about ten minutes before show time to find it packed. Finding two seats together was too much of a hassle at this point so we chose to sit in the least optimal seats, in the section in front of the center aisle. You know that part of the theater that is not stadium seating? We watched the almost two and a half hour film with our necks craned at an upward angle. Like I said. This made me antsy.

I still enjoyed the movie though. There was less romance and more sci-fi this time. The ending though? Why do they have to do that to me? I may have been forced to read the books now.