What do you think it says about the future of society when it can even go to the movies without texting? Surely one of the primary reasons people pay for the privilege of watching something on the ‘big screen’ is because you can connect with something other than your mobile phone for a couple of hours?
Once considered an absolute ‘no-no’ for cinema lovers, the head of a major United States cinema chain is considering ‘texting-friendly’ screenings in an attempt to lure millennial moviegoers.
The newly appointed CEO of AMC Theatres, Adam Aron, says, “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.”
Aron says if cinemas want to survive having tiny screens lighting up in people’s hands throughout a screening is an acceptable sacrifice. Guess it all comes down to bums on seats.
He aired his thoughts in an in-depth interview with Variety, further saying that some moves might ruffle feathers, but there are pockets of consumers that don’t see many movies and the industry needs to be doing more to attract those people.
It’s not the first time a theatre executive has suggested lifting the ban on mobile phone use at the movies. Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles once said that the chain talked about being more flexible about mobile phone use at some screenings, but the negative feedback at the mere suggestion was acute. It appears even hours after Aron’s interview, Twitter came alive with similar debate:
— SpiderWayne (@spiderwayne) April 14, 2016
@AMCTheatres I guess Adam Aron has never sat in one of his own theaters with someone beaming a giant light next to him.
— Justin @CartoonSmart (@cartoonsmart) April 15, 2016
There could be nothing more distracting that a movie goer in the seat next to you choosing the dramatic climax of a film to tap out their text and press ‘send’. People go to the movies for all sorts of reasons and one of those reasons is because under a veil of darkness you can be transported a world away as the drama, comedy, action and/or romance unfolds in front of you.
You have to worry about the younger generation. They have incorporated smartphones and social media into their lives in such a way that not being able to send that text or, heaven forbid, update their Facebook status leaves them with a chronic case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
On the flip side, Sydney Morning Herald writer said Garry Maddox said allowing cinemagoers to electronically multitask could open up a new way for filmmakers to interact with them.
What do you think?