Right now, texting in movie theaters is considered a major faux pas. That uncontrollably bright backlight on the iPhone, even at the lowest brightness setting, has the ability to blind anyone — especially in a near-pitch black theater.
To curb this, many theaters have taken to completely outlawing cellphones during movies. To enforce the ban, many viewers are subjected to a pre-movie clip, specifically instructing all audience members to turn off their cellphones (like this “It can wait!” one from Cinemark). And because that warning isn’t enough to get everybody to listen, some theaters have started making an example of the troublemakers: In 2011, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse uploaded this uncensored “Angry Voicemail” video to their YouTube account, featuring an irate customer viciously attacking the employees for kicking her out.
But, this may all be changing, at least in AMC Theaters. Soon, texting in movie theaters may be just as normal as it used to be…like five years ago.
Speaking with Variety , Adam Aron, the very new head of AMC Entertainment, revealed that he was open to lifting the ban on texting and cellphones during movies. His reasoning? Millennials! The general disinterest in going to the movies exhibited by those ’80s and ’90s kids that grew up concurrently with the internet may actually help fight back against the War on Phones.
When asked about his reasoning, Aron responded: “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.” (Hey, I’m a 22-year-old millennial, and I agree.)
Given that Aron has only been in his current position at AMC for less than four months, this ban lift may take some time to execute, especially given that even he seems somewhat unsure of how he plans to execute it.
“We’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences,” he admits, adding that “today’s moviegoer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.” But he still seems determined to find a way, noting that making a specific section of each theater texting-friendly was one possibility, but “what may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly.” Either way, it’ll be really interesting to see how many millennials start going to AMC theaters in these coming months.
UPDATE: AMC’s CEO Adam Aron has said in a letter that, due to overwhelmingly negative feedback, AMC will not allow texting in theaters. Whew.