Business: Movie Theatre
In-theatre restrooms   (+13, -1)  [vote for, against]
Relieve yourself without missing any of the movie.

Not actually in the theatre, but have a door that leads from the theatre directly into the restroom. In the restroom, there would be windows that look back into the theatre at the movie screen so that you could continue watching your movie while you do your business. The soundtrack could be piped in on speakers.

Problems to be solved: You don't want potty sounds leaking back into the theatre, so the windows probably need to be glass rather than just holes in the wall. The problem with that is that if the bathroom is to be lit, light will get into the theatre, plus all you'd see from the restroom would be a big reflection. So there needs to be a way of maintaining visibility while keeping sound (and odors) out of the theatre. Suggestions?

Another problem would be that each movie screen would need its own bathroom. Unless maybe it would be one centrally located restroom that overlooked all the theatres.
-- PotatoStew, Apr 14 2001

How about installing TV monitors inside stalls in the bathrooms and above the urinals. You'd have to keep stalls with the same movies together, to avoid sound overlap.

There would still be some of the show you'd miss while making that mad dash to the washroom, but at least you wouldn't feel so hurried to get back.

I think there might have to be an usher to prevent people from loitering, freeloading, or taking too long in any one stall.
-- Wes, Apr 14 2001

Two-way mirror, aye---not bad, not bad at all. This would be very workable in a theatre such as Magic Johnson Theatre in Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. It is a very well thought out theatre in every respect. Concessions for each screen as well as a main concession beyond registers, Separate restrooms for each screen as well. The marquee menu at the indoor register is drop down as opposed to horizontal.
-- thumbwax, Apr 14 2001

Light the room with rope lights around the floor, rather than glaring fluorescents on the ceiling. Or put slats over the window so you can see out of it if you're looking horizontally, but the overhead light is blocked. Make the walls black so no light reflects through.

Or have screens with 'channels' so you can see your movie, maybe a little mag code on the ticket stub so you only get the one you paid for...

Maybe light it with electroluminescent panels <Indiglo>. The soft blue-green light doesn't break night vision, and generally isn't bright enough to reflect very far, but plenty bright enough for dark-adapted eyes. I have a small night-light in my bathroom that's like 1x2 inches or so, and it's bright enough to piddle by in the wee-wee hours of the morning.

Or you could do the in-the-bowl lighting thing...Can't find a link now, but there's a little widjet that projects light into the bowl so it doesn't blind you...more sophisticated ones project a red target when the seat is up, or a green light when it's down, for pointers/setters...
-- StarChaser, Apr 14 2001

I'm going to support the idea of stalls on either side of the theatre (men's on one side, women's on the other), with a large one-way glass window. TV screens in separate stalls are no good -- the only reason for going to the theatre anymore is for the big screen experience, so in-theatre bathrooms can't compromise that principle.

The entrance will be behind the toilet. For the ladies, there will be two toilets separated by a partition, with full-sized one-way glass across both stalls in front of them. For the gentlemen, one toilet and one urinal. The urinal will have a half-sized glass above it, offering ample viewing room.

Now, the one-way glass will diminish the brightness of the screen, and thereby diminish the complete experience of the film, but that will reduce the amount of stall loiterers. There has to be some incentive to get off the toilet....

Let me know when the theatre is built, and I'll be there.
-- globaltourniquet, Apr 14 2001

Ugh. Smell. Bad.

Anyways, the floors in most theaters are icky enough.
-- Wes, Apr 15 2001

I don't think a TV screen would compromise the experience. Surely it's better to see two minutes on a TV screen than to miss those two minutes entirely? At least you can keep up with the plot.

I believe "one way glass" is just a partially silvered surface that's installed such that the "viewers" room is darker than the "viewees". (If the light difference is enough, even ordinary glass is "one way". The silvering just accentuates the effect.) It would be hard to make the restroom less well lit than the theater itself, at least without causing people to bump into the furnishings and each other (ick).

I'd expect having a separate bathroom per theater to be economically infeasible (since you don't get to average out the load -- and cinema restroom traffic is nothing if not bursty), but [thumbwax] does claim that at least one theater does it, so maybe it's not impossibly expensive. (What dominates the cost of a restroom? The capital cost of the fixtures? The cost of the floor space in the building? The ongoing cleaning and maintenance cost, proportional to use?)

I'd go with TV screens per stall/urinal that you can dial to whatever movie, but I don't know what to do about the sound problem. (I wouldn't worry about "theft"; most theaters don't guard against that anyway -- you can wander into any screen you like, as long as you've paid to get into the house.) Headphones? But yuck. Isolated stalls with sound baffling? Magic active cancellation foofoo?
-- egnor, Apr 15 2001

You could fully light the anteroom of the bathrooms, where hands are washed and noses are powdered, and dimly light the stalls where the viewing/sitting/business takes place. A sufficient "silvering" would minimize the intrusion of light into the theatre. Also, the one-way effect is only somewhat eliminated by this full lighting at times of no necessary privacy (i.e. going into and out of the stall...). Plus the glass is positioned in such a way that normally movie viewers are not facing it, as it is facing the screen with them. I still prefer this to the monitors in the stalls. Speakers pipe the sound, and it is soundproof to eliminate that intrusion.
-- globaltourniquet, Apr 15 2001

I had originally considered the idea of monitors in stalls, but then discarded it as too "clunky." The design of theatres has gone down quite a bit up until recently, and I think stall monitors would not help. Some well-designed method of direct viewing is much more elegant, classy, and preferred (by me at least).

A one-way window would be excellent, but I agree that there would still be lighting issues. Perhaps if this idea was combined with some sort of light baffling as suggested by StarChaser, and a subdued lighting scheme in the stall/urinal area that made use of rope lighting as well as directional lighting to highlight the important bits like urinals and such.

To address egnor's concerns about cost, the design of thumbwax's theatre could be looked at, and maybe rather than a restroom for each theatre, two theatres could share a restroom, with views of both screens. Sound problems would still need to be worked out, but sound can be directed at least to some extent. There might be some overlap, but again, we don't want people watching the whole movie from the restroom, so maybe that's ok.

Zippyanna: interesting suggestion. Throw a concession stand in one of the stalls and you'd be all set. Hmmm... I don't feel so good now.
-- PotatoStew, Apr 16 2001

or, alternatively, you could do as most of the population does, and go to the bathroom *before* the movie starts. this would eliminate that annoying, "excuse me...sorry...can i just get through?" whispering, not to mention getting in everyone's way, spilling popcorn, etc. those with small bladders, no control, etc sit in the aisle seats.
-- mihali, Apr 16 2001

Hey, when ya gotta go, you gotta go. Getting that 64 oz. Cherry Coke at the concession stand comes with a price, especially in a long movie.
-- PotatoStew, Apr 16 2001

good idea. too bad theater owners are such tightwads that they probably will never actually do anything like this though.
-- missannthrope, Jun 10 2003

People! This is why they give you such a big cup when you purchase a drink. You never have to get up; just have good aim.
-- goober, Jun 11 2003

I'm just wondering...all this talk about semi-silvered mirrors and so forth begs the question: does the light from the projector at the back of the room bother you?

I think that with suffiiently dim lighting, no one would notice the plain glass windows at the back of the theatre. Making the bathroom about as bright as early dusk, then illuminating the toilets/urinals with LEDs or cold-cathode lights, should be plenty bright without disturbing the people in the theatre.

As for sound, there's a directed sound panel under development (saw it in popular science a few months back) that can focus sound to a small area, less than one foot square. People beside you can't hear any more than the sound reflected off your face and onto them. Simply place one of those next to the wndow corresponding to the correct screen, and you're in business.
-- Macwarrior, May 02 2004

and there i was thinking this would be built in toilet seats for each seat in the cinema...
-- Lacus Trasumenus, May 02 2004

I've been thinking of the same idea for awhile. A one seat unisex restroom in the back should be enough. I think we now have windows tech'ed out enough to block outgoing light. I don't think the studios would allow video screens in stalls to show their films. They already have enough to keep bootleggers at bay. The big prob is having all those pipes snaking to each theatre. every extra ft. of pipe cost $$.
-- the great unknown, Aug 22 2007

Bring back intermissions to allow for emissions.

Or have the ushers pickup refilled sloshy popcorn containers.
-- popbottle, Jan 12 2017

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