Movies in Abu Dhabi? You bet... and they serve nachos.

Going to the movies is fun, only here in Abu Dhabi, there is a different set of etiquette.

Below is an open letter to the manager of the cinema's at Abu Dhabi Mall.

Before I get to it though, let's get through what I am USUALLY looking for in a cinematic experience..
First and foremost let me say that I am the kind of guy who shows up at the movies on time. All the time.

I have been known to see a different movie than the one I drove across town to see, simply because I was 10 minutes late, and I didn't want to be the late guy.

Second, I like to have all my noisy eating done OR prepared to be done prior to the main feature starting. Potential noisy bags checked for volume and if required, open and ready to divulge their artery clogging, cellulite encouraging, crinkly wrappered wonders upon my good person. Preferably orally.

Third, I like to watch the previews uninterrupted, including the ads, and that all conversation about said pre-entertainment kept to a reasonable volume. Reasonable volume suggests a level that is ONLY audible by the person sitting next to the individual from whom the pearls of wisdom are emanating from.

These "Can't wait until the end of the show" topics might include: The Chinese restaurant that's offering the after screening Dim-Sum deal or an upcoming se-pre-post-quel of a Sylvester Stallone franchise, or how Kate Winslett's head looks more like a foot with every passing year.

Last - Phone users: Turn your effing phone off. Just turn it off. How hard can it be. You can't tell me that the multi-tasking piece of techno junk that you have in your pocket can tell you that you are within 3 feet of where you are (a redundant concept, and another rant entirely) but doesn't have an off button. Although if it's made by Apple there is every chance they will have overlooked such an obvious thing.

(Before all you fruit lovers get all "thingy": anyone with series 1 or 2 iPhone pick up your phone immediately. Now, the last text message you received, just forward it on to me will you...I'll just get you my number.. What? You CAN'T forward a text... imagine overlooking that, lets hope they sort it out in the later series hey? Now go have a cup of fair-trade tea and a nice sit down on your really uncomfortable, but highly attractive office chair).

... another digression... back to the letter,

To the Manager
Grand Abu Dhabi Mall Cinemas,
Abu Dhabi Mall, Tourist Club Area 2
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Re: Suggestions that might help western expats embrace the UAE culture, and maximise their experience of visiting your fine movie theatre.

1a: Create a phone mount that attaches to rear of every headrest.
Cinema goers could then conveniently read their extraordinarily important texts regarding what is on for their social calendar for the next 3 hours, without danger of nacho salsa contamination of their technological iron lung.

In doing so you will negate the problem of the poor darlings having to crouch and squint in the reflective glow of their phones, leaving both hands free to eat, thus improving potential snack bar sales.

The glow emitted from the phones will be far more helpful for patrons to check that they haven't spilled anything in their lap. Rather than the annoying half obscured light they have to deal with now.

1b: Explore potential for a blue tooth unit that has the entire expected conversation vocab on a large button that cycles though pre-set text. This could operated by foot, the button could be mounted to the floor.
Macro's could include, but are not limited to:
  • Hi.
  • nuthin
  • nup
  • yup
  • At Movie
  • good
  • bad
  • meh
  • later?
  • sure
  • no way.
  • Have you seen the latest statistics for the potential of global warming and how it's going to,like,fry our brains, or sumthin.
  • So's your face.
  • Can you run to the snack bar and get me more popcorn, I've just got my mobile hanging at the right height...

There are other earth shattering insights to be had via text, and it is obviously imperative that they need to be conveyed within the 2 hour period of a movie, your assistance with such a device will facilitate this. Please contact me if you need help with a working plan or steering committee.

1c: Insist that patrons increase the volume of their mobile (or cell) to the the loudest possible setting. This ensures that the distortion level of the speaker is so great it adds to the inbuilt vibro-notification, while rendering the tune that is supposed to define the individual, and completely encapsulate who they are as a person and what they stand for, totally unrecognisable. Music randomly going off is annoying ... super loud buzzing though, perfectly acceptable.

2a: Encourage louder and more robust discussion about how each movie rates in relation to one that someone saw last week, or didn't see, or was told by someone who did/didn't see it. The last movie I went to had such opinions being made so quietly that only the adjoining 5 rows of patrons heard the thesis statement of the commentary, let alone the body of the argument - which lead to much confusion. This may also have something to do with your acoustics, perhaps they need remodelling.

2b: Don't let patrons limit themselves to the local audience, partaking of a protracted discussion with a 3rd party by phone is acceptable provided the acoustic aspect of the person speaking follow the guidelines set out in suggestion 2a. Of course if both parties are in the same theatre, then that resolves the problem of those not involved from only getting one side of the conversation.

3a: Let people know when they purchase tickets that they should not feel encumbered by the concept of time. If they decide to "discover" their seats 20 minutes in to the main feature, they needn't worry, participants involved in points 1a through 2b, if they have been successfully empowered to do so, will assist in informing the late arrivals of everything that they have missed. In addition, anecdotal information about previous movies in the franchise (if applicable) should be encouraged.

3b: Make sure that late comers have seats in the middle of rows, and that they stand on at least 3 different feet in their effort to get to their seats.
I was only stood on twice in my last visit, and my wife 3 times. I think I am being discriminated against, or that my wife was being flirted with.

4: Keep up the good work with the whole nacho thing. They look tasty and will encourage more generous seating sizes as time marches on.

Thank you for taking the time to read my few suggestions, if I, or any visitors to my site come up with more I'll be sure to let you know.

Kindest regards

The Abudhabilist

Infomation on session movie times can be found by clicking here


  1. HUZZAH!! A round of applause for our cinematic learned fellow. And another round of nachos, extra low fat, high carb cheesey sauce...

  2. I don't think that I could go to the cinema there. I am such a cinema sod I try and only do palace or gold class.

    Some fcker took a plastic bag into goldclass though with his own food, so just goes to show you can't always escape wankers!


Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to

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