Theater Patron Slaps Excessive Talker, Charged with Felony

AMC theaters logoHave you ever become so enraged at the excessive theater talker you wanted to give him a Mel Gibson back-hand square across the popcorn-stuffed face? That's exactly what one Seattle-area theater-goer did when the person sitting nearby refused to pipe down and continued to throw popcorn at the screen. One problem though: the belligerent big-mouth was a ten-year-old kid. And the "slap" dislodged one of the child's teeth causing quite a bloody mess.

Kent Washington police were called to the local AMC theater shortly after 10:30 pm where they met the young boy, his mother and a group of friends who complained that a man, 21-year-old Yong Hyun Kim, sporting long hair and 3-D glasses had stepped over a couple rows of seats and assaulted the kid. According to the report the man said, "you know what, I paid a lot of money to see this movie" before delivering the blow to the face which also caused a bloody nose.

When questioned by the police, Kim admitted his embarrassment after learning of the boy's young age, but he went on to say that after asking the group to behave, they laughed at him and continued talking loudly and throwing popcorn, some of which hit him and his girlfriend.

Kim, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested and charged with second-degree felony assault, a very serious charge that could brings months in jail if convicted. No word however, on whether the kid has said he learned a valuable lesson.

While we would never condone an escalation of this magnitude, it's not too hard to understand why Kim acted the way he did in reaction to what seems like a recent spate in bad behavior by cell-phone distracted movie patrons. It goes without saying, a more appropriate course of action would have been to ask AMC personnel to handle the matter. But then again, doesn't the theater share in the culpability of this fiasco that was a long-time in coming? Aren't they responsible for ensuring their customers enjoy themselves while watching a movie? And what about the mother who was chaperoning her child's event? Yes, the man probably hit the child with more than an open hand, but it's fair time someone stood up to take our theaters back, as it doesn't seem the theater owners themselves are very interested in solving the problem.

By the way, we might have uncovered the source of all the rage that contributed, at least in part, to the provocation by both parties: The Associated Press reports the incident occurred during a screening of Titanic in 3-D.

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