I'm an hourly manager for a fairly large big name cinema.
It's a fairly steady Saturday night and I'm manning the customer service booth with our security detail officer( an off-duty cop that works part-time for us.)
In the middle of our 7pm set, a lady comes up to us reporting that she is hearing someone having a conversation from outside her auditorium. No big deal.
The officer and I make our way to her auditorium to check things out. However, we don't see anyone outside the auditorium, so we decide to check outside the building.
I hold the hallway exit door open while the officer steps outside to check it out. Still nothing.
At this point, another customer exits the auditorium to report that someone is talking in the auditorium. Okay, we got this. We enter the auditorium to try to scope out the talker.
This particular show is in our smallest auditorium, but It is almost 80% full. Still, it should not take us too long to find a talker in there.
Once we get in, we almost immediately hear the noise, it sounded like a very constant whisper. We walk up and down the steps to try and pinpoint the source of the noise. we still can't find it.
While I'm looking, I recognize a noise, it sounded like one of our crew radios. My heart sinks. I reach down to check my radio, it's off. I start to panic internally.
Did one of my ushers really leave a radio in here?!? At this point some people are beginning to be irritated by the noise, whispering for me to hurry up and find it.
I'm pretty desperate at this point, it's already about 10 minutes into the feature.
So to solve this once and for all I decide to exit the auditorium to have someone upstairs pause the show so we can find this distraction.
As I'm walking down the steps I notice a faint light coming from a lady's purse and as I get closer the sound gets louder. Bingo! I approach the lady and begin to quietly confront here.
Me: Excuse me, mam, I think there is a noise coming from your purse.
Lady: What? it can't be me! My phone's on silent!
Me: Mam, could open your purse?
Lady: Why? It's obviously someone else.
I'm getting pretty impatient at this point, but the officer comes to my rescue once he notices me interacting with this lady.
He comes up next to me with a small flashlight and shines it down into her purse.
Officer: Mam, I'm going to need you to open your purse.
This startles her, and she scrambles to open her purse. Instantly, the noise becomes very audible, the sound is an audio book playing on her phone.
Then out of nowhere the audio book reaches a point where it starts to drop some f-bombs. I felt the panic overcome her as she started fumble with the phone to get it to stop.
It was really dark in there, but I swear I could see her face turning red. She eventually gets it to be quiet and a small applause can be heard from the row behind her.
She sinks into her seat a little and we exit the auditorium.
The Officer and I start to talk about what just happened on our way back to the lobby.
As if this situation could not get any more embarrassing for that lady, it turns out that the officer recognized her as the original complainer!
TL;DR: Lady complains about noise during movie. She turns out to be the source of the noise.