Abstract The harmful effects of noise exposure during leisure-time activities are beginning to receive some scrutiny. We conducted a preliminary study to investigate the noise levels during the showings of 25 different films. During each screening, various sound measurements were made with a dosimeter. The movies were classified on the basis of both their Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating and their genre, and the size of the theater and the size of the audience were taken into consideration in the final analysis. Our findings suggest that the sound levels of many movies might be harmful to hearing, although we can draw no definitive conclusions. We did not discern any relationship between noise levels and either MPAA rating or genre. Further studies are recommended.