As the debate over what to do about cell phone usage in movies rages on, one theater isn’t just tolerating those awful glowy screens, but actively encouraging them. ArcLight Cinemas has teamed up with SeeItFirst for Second Screen Live!, an event series in which patrons are invited to toy with their iPads while The Nightmare Before Christmas plays on the big screen. Just what we need. More after the jump.

The event description, posted by Movies in LA, promises “fun challenges, speed trivia, sing-alongs,” prizes and more at the planned screenings, which are happening October 22 in Sherman Oaks and October 24 in Pasadena. So this isn’t a normal screening — it’s not like the ArcLight is bringing iPads into the Saturday matinee showing of Seven Psychopaths. The Nightmare event is more akin to the Disney movie sing-alongs hosted at a bar in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t normally tolerate drunken idiots yelling at the screen, but in that context I’ll happily make an exception.

On the other hand, if this event goes well, you can bet there’ll be many more like it. And the more common iPads become in movie theaters, the more normalized that kind of despicable behavior becomes. Some exhibitors have already floated the idea of separate “text-friendly” screenings for those who can’t bear to turn off their precious iPhones for 100 minutes, and this seems like a step in that direction. Pretty soon, not even an army of theater ninjas will be enough to stave off the hordes of iPhone-wielding assholes.

Where this is happening matters as well. The ArcLight has a great reputation for giving patrons an enjoyable theater experience, but this is exactly what I don’t want moviegoing to become. At least we’ll always have the Alamo Drafthouse — Tim League would probably rather die than let people fool around with gadgets during a movie.

If, after all that, you’re still interested in attending Second Screen Live!, head to SeeItFirst.com and enter code 950452 for more details. Just promise me your iPad use will be limited to this one event, though, okay?

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