15 Movies That Made People Literally Walk Out of the Theater

Alice in Wonderland
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Sometimes, people can’t help but walk out on a bad movie. There are several reasons why, but more often than not, they can’t stand to sit through a poor film any longer than they’re willing to. Sometimes, as this recent discussion talks about, people walk out of a movie for more reasons than we realize. 

Some of the reasons might surprise you, and some of the people who left the theatres are the ones who are telling the tale. Some people have to make a statement, and some stories are hilarious. Typically, most people will stick it out to the end, hoping that whatever the problem is will resolve, but only sometimes. One story was so epic I had to include it, even though it technically didn’t involve a theatre.

1. After Earth (2013)

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

After Earth is a film directed by M. Night Shyamalan, starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith and critics were not kind to it. It currently has a score of twelve percent on the critical aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Wow, that’s not good. Shyamalan has an excellent reputation as a filmmaker, but this period of his career was perhaps not his best.

However, this story involves a theatre employee who watched a daily mass exodus of disappointed filmgoers during every screening of After Earth that he witnessed from the cinema lobby in a theatre in Los Angeles. The theatre employee said people would begin to leave within fifteen to thirty minutes of the film, laughing or complaining about how bad it was. The funniest part to the employee was how his managers were ill-prepared to deal with the sheer volume of refund requests because people hated the film so much.

2. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Image Credit: Haxan Films.

The Blair Witch Project is undoubtedly a landmark film in the found footage genre of horror, but it is also controversial even among horror fans. One of the biggest complaints about the film is the camera work which some people find unpleasant. It’s known as “shaky cam,” and the movement can cause motion sickness and nausea.

One highly dedicated movie fan admitted to leaving the theatre during a The Blair Witch Project screening, “but only because the camera work made them sick.” Like a trooper, the guy returned to the theatre after being sick in the bathroom to finish watching the film. He should definitely get kudos for his dedication to cinema.

3. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2010)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is another film by director M. Night Shyamalan. Still, it’s only here because numerous forum members mentioned it as a film they disliked enough to leave a theatre. Sorry, but it was just such a popular answer.

This film has a score on Rotten Tomatoes that is even lower than After Earth. The critical reaction is even worse than that of the previous record holder at a mere five percent. At least two users said they had walked out on the film, and even some of Shyamalan’s fans in the forum did not have kind words for the movie, which is surprising since his fans are very supportive of his work.

4. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Here’s another reason someone might leave a movie theatre, which is different. It’s a good reason because it means that the movie was very effective. A movie fan said their family had to leave Star Wars when he was five, and his brother was three years old because of Darth Vader.

The mere appearance of the greatest villain of the series was enough for those two kids to decide that the film was not for them. It is a case where the film and the character worked even better than expected. They were so terrified that they made their parents leave the theatre.

5. Blonde (2022)

Image Credit: Plan B Entertainment.

Director Andrew Dominick’s Blonde is a fictionalized biographical film about the actress Marilyn Monroe from a book by Joyce Carol Oates. A person told of having watched the movie for forty-five minutes, and they felt like it was an eternity.

When they checked how long they had to go to see if they could tough it out, they found exactly how much time was still left in the film. They decided that enough was enough. Several others echoed this viewer’s displeasure with the film, and some hated it even more.

6. Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

Image Credit: The Kennedy/Marshall Company.

Jurassic World Dominion is the latest film in the Jurassic Park film series and possibly the one that filmgoers have disliked the most in the recent trilogy of Jurassic World films. A commenter stated it only took about thirty minutes before they left the theatre, and another said they “extremely walked out,” which is a strong reaction.

It’s not looking good. Jurassic World scored seventy-one percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom scored forty-seven percent, and Jurassic World: Dominion only managed a score of twenty-nine percent. The Jurassic World films seem to be subject to the law of diminishing returns despite the presence of some of the favorite actors in the series and a genuine star in Chris Pratt.

7. 300 (2006)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

One forum member had a fantastic story about how his eccentric friend got refunds for a large part of the audience at a screening of Zach Snyder’s 300. It had nothing to do with the quality of the film but the quality of the sound in the theatre. After about an hour of sound problems and various people asking management to fix them, his friend Matt stood up and said, “If you want a refund, follow me.” About 100 people followed him out into the lobby of the theatre.

“Matt” was pleasant and funny but firm. He demanded that not only all the patrons get refunds, but he also insisted that they receive refunds for their concession purchases. His logic is that the botched screening “ruined their whole night.” After a while, the theatre manager came out to respond to these demands only to see “Matt” cajoling his staff to refund everything to most of the audience while the teller of the tale hid behind a pillar and cried with laughter.

This walkout was the largest on the thread and the most hilarious. It wasn’t until “Matt” suddenly asked a bizarre question loudly in front of the theatre queue that was entering the theatre after buying tickets. “Do you like beating children with sticks? That was enough for the poor theatre manager who outclassed this odd man. Everyone who had their concession receipts got full refunds, and everyone else got refunds for their tickets and free passes.

8. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (2022)

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Most of the time, people think kids will watch anything, and usually, the parents have to sit through whatever the kids want. In the case of the film Lyle Lyle Crocodile, a kid decided they weren’t into it and took their parents with them. Amusingly, the parent stated that they taught their child that it wasn’t okay to walk out of a movie but that they could make an allowance for this and do it just this once.

9. Uncut Gems (2019)

Image Credit: Scott Rudin Productions.

Uncut Gems is a film directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie that is known to be so intense that it causes people to feel anxiety. Director Rob Jabbaz stated that he heard it was so panic-inducing that it felt like a horror film, and he agreed.

The teller of the tale stated that he and his girlfriend had to leave the theatre because of an understandable situation where the film made his partner feel so uncomfortable and tense that she started to panic. Numerous others stated that the film felt like a panic attack. It was intensely overstimulating; some admitted to taking a breather outside and then going back in.

10. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Are horror films too scary again? It would seem so. Someone told a story of how he insisted that his parents drive for an hour to reach the only theatre in the area that was screening Freddy vs. Jason so he could watch it at twelve years old. Unfortunately, after the first dream sequence, the kid was traumatized so much that he insisted that his parents take him home. Oops. They were not pleased.

11. Das Boot (1981)

Image Credit: Bavaria Film.

Even highly regarded foreign films are not exempt from walkouts. Das Boot, considered one of the finest German films ever made, still got a walkout, but for a reason unrelated to the film’s cinematic value.

Someone told how his outraged father “frog marched” him and his mom out of a movie showing because he objected to the ribald language and a comparison to female anatomy uttered by one of the film’s characters. It might have had something to do with his son’s age and the fact that his wife was with them, which led to his angry exit.

12. That’s A No To Hostels

Image Credit:
Next Entertainment.

Hostel and Hostel 2 were written and directed by Eli Roth, known for his gross-out films. These rough films test people’s ability to withstand filmed depictions of torture. Several people in the forum admitted to walking out of these splatter horror films.

Still, it was amusing to hear the story of a user who said that a fellow audience member yelled, “Is the whole movie going to be like this?” to which they answered, “I think so, yeah.” The questioner then left, and the user noted that he wished he had followed the guy out more than once.

13. Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Alice in Wonderland (2010), directed by Tim Burton, has earned the ire of certain members. While one admitted that they walked out of the theatre after thirty minutes, never to return, several more stated that they only stayed because they had ingested certain substances that made the viewing experience better for them. Generally, if your film needs people to be out of their heads to watch it, it might not be that great.

14. Blindness (2008)

Image Credit: Alliance Films.

While this account doesn’t strictly fit the walking out of the theatre scenario, it was so singular and funny that it deserved inclusion. The story is that a group of friends watched the film Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles, starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, at home, and they disliked it so intensely that they stopped the disc, took it outside, and then went through the trouble of running it over with their car. There’s no question of exactly how they felt about the film.  

15. The Boondock Saints (1999)

Image Credit: Franchise Pictures.

The Boondock Saints has a cult fanbase, but a disgusted commenter was over it and walked out of a film screening. His reasons were that it was such a slog, and the script seemed like someone had allowed a crazed thirteen-year-old Tarantino fan to write the movie.

The person also compared the writing to someone so desperate for attention that they would eat handfuls of dirt in front of people just for a reaction. It makes one wonder where someone saw another child eat dirt for attention, but I digress.

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Written by Dolores Quintana

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