AMC Theaters Allowing Texting

When you’re in the darkness of a movie theater, there’s nothing more annoying than some inconsiderate fool getting our their cell phone for more than just a quick time check. Personally, I’ve seen people get out their phone to carry on extended text conversations, check Facebook, and even take a selfie with the flash on during the trailers. This is the world we live in.

Now Adam Aron, the head of AMC Entertainment, the company behind the AMC Theatres movie theater chain, has indicated that he’s willing to allow texting and cell phone use during some movies in order to appeal to the millennial crowd. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like this is something that will be allowed in all screenings. Find out more about AMC Theatres allowing texting after the jump.

Speaking with Variety, Adam Aron addressed some of the strategies that AMC would be employing to keep their audiences coming back to the theater. In addition to new food options and a better loyalty program, Aron says one of the strategies is to figure out how to appeal to certain segments of the population that don’t see as many movies in theaters. Specifically, he says:

We need to reshape our product in some concrete ways so that millennials go to movie theaters with the same degree of intensity as baby boomers went to movie theaters throughout their lives.

This prompted the trade to ask whether this would involve allowing texting and general cell phone use during movies. Unfortunately, Aron responded in the affirmative:

Yes. When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.

My first response to that is, “Well, that’s just too damn bad.” Guess what? There are times that you don’t get your cell phone out for general use, and millennials, or anyone for that matter, who are too addicted to their phone to put it away for a couple hours, need to understand that.

It doesn’t matter if your friend needs to send you a GIF of a cat scared of a cucumber or if you need to use Tinder because your current date isn’t going so well. Save it for later. Sure, there are times when you have to take a phone call or deal with emergency situations, keep in touch with your parents, but that’s when you go out in the lobby and use your phone there.

The movie theater isn’t your house, and there’s a giant screen in front of you playing a movie that you paid for. Watch it, and grow up. That applies to everyone with a desire to use their cell phone, especially those too inconsiderate to turn their brightness down. I don’t care how old you are, knock it off. Oh, and get off my lawn while you’re at it.

Thankfully, Adam Aron knows that there are people like me who aren’t going to be fans of cell phone use. He adds:

At the same time, though, we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences. There’s a reason there are ads up there saying turn off your phone, because today’s moviegoer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.

Plus, AMC Theatres made this statement once this interview started making the rounds:

Okay, that’s some good news. Aron says one possibility is that there could be a certain section for texting, but more likely “we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly.” That probably means there would be certain screenings of movies that would be designated as texting friendly so people who don’t want to deal with that nonsense know to avoid those theaters. The texting section isn’t a bad idea either, but all the seats would need to be in the rear of the theater so as not to disturb any viewers behind the texters.

The problem is that the decreasing value of the movie theater experience and environment along with the rising ticket and concessions costs is what makes something like The Screening Room seem appealing to certain sects of the population. Aron wouldn’t comment on a potential deal that AMC Theatres might strike with The Screening Room, but it’s clear they’ve had discussions with Sean Parker about the prospect.

Honestly, I just think it’s sad that there are so many people who can’t be bothered to take their attention span away from the phone for a couple hour and just check out from social media and the internet. The movies are supposed to be an escape, and you shouldn’t have to constantly be looking at your phone when you’re supposed to be enjoying a visual medium like the movies. At this rate, we’ll have texting friendly funerals and job interviews.

Will any of you take advantage of texting friendly theaters? Do you think this is a good idea?

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