Do you ever have the urge to start texting during a movie? According to Variety, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron may make whipping out your cellphone and texting in the theater an acceptable action. Aron says the idea is to get more millennials in theater seats.
“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.”
Aron has only been with AMC Entertainment for four months, but he is already working on big changes. He has already orchestrated a planned merger with Carmike, which would make them the largest movie theater chain in the world, with a value of $4 billion.
Allowing texting in their chain of theaters is just another way they are attempting not only maintain, but expand the company’s riches. While AMC proudly touts that it is “the customer experience leader,” many movie patrons are not fond of the idea and have taken to Twitter to express their misgivings. While some are diplomatic and stating their intention to stop visiting AMC outlets, others are predicting doom for the movie theater chain.
Fortunately, Aron is aware of the tough road ahead in making sure that the texting of some doesn’t affect the overall experience of all the moviegoers. AMC Entertainment is taking many ideas into consideration to make the idea work out to the best for all involved.
“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.”
When asked by Variety about having texting sections, his response was encouraging for some. “That’s one possibility. What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly,” he said.
Texting during the movie is just one of many changes the chain has implemented or considered in the name of progress and making the theater a more appealing option in the days of Netflix and other streaming services. It is easier than ever to stay comfy at home with your favorite snacks and beverages, click on a movie, and have a fun-filled night of cinema right in your own living room, and for a lot less than the theater will cost you. This fact has not gone unnoticed.
In an attempt to match the comfort at home, AMC Entertainment have been removing the old seats and putting in recliners in select theaters.
No matter how this turns out, it probably won’t make everyone happy. Texting may bring more millennials to the movies, but if not handled correctly, it may drive other demographics out and into the waiting arms of home streaming and microwave popcorn.
Another concern comes in the form of piracy. Allowing people to use handheld HD video cameras in the theater could lead to many pirates having an easier time recording movies off the screen than they have in the past.
For right now, this is just an idea in the early stages; many plans can still come and go before Aron and AMC Entertainment land on solution they decide to move ahead with. Whether they move ahead with allowing texting at the movie theaters or not, many parties will be watching intently, including Netflix, other streaming services, and maybe most importantly of all, the moviegoing public.