New AMC Theatres Texting Policy Yanked After Public Outrage

Fret not, cinephiles. The AMC Theatres texting ban will remain in effect after an extremely negative public response to comments made by the company earlier this week.

AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron clearly heard the gripes of AMC Theatres customers hesitant to see texting become a fixture of moviegoing. On Friday morning, the company published a lengthy letter to their Twitter promising that cell phones would not become commonplace at their screenings.

The chain of movie theaters stirred up controversy a few days ago when Aron told Variety that his company may allow texting, the Inquisitr previously reported. Aron told the magazine that this move was in order to court Millennial moviegoers, many of whom he believes are too attached to their cell phones to sit through a whole movie without checking in.

“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.”

As it turns out, the majority of AMC Theatres customers still look to the movie for a form of escapism. The social media response was near-unanimous in its condemnation of the idea. Texting may be a part of modern life, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in the movies.

Among the fiercest critics of AMC Theatres’ proposed leniency on texting was the head of Alamo Drafthouse Tim League, an Austin, Texas-based chain that prides itself on cinematic purity. League argued that such a policy was extremely disrespectful to the art of film, disregarding the time and energy that directors, actors, and writers put into creating a project, reported KXAN.

“Auteurs focus for years to complete their films. We as exhibitors rely completely on these creators for our content and have an unwritten obligation to present their films in the best possible way: on a big screen with big sound and a bright picture in a silent, dark room. You can only be immersed in a story if you are focused on it. If while watching a film you are intermittently checking your email, posting on social media, chatting with friends, etc., there is no way you are fully engaged in the story on screen. I find that to be disrespectful to the creators, those who make the very existence of cinema possible.”

Furthermore, he said, AMC Theatres’ texting policy was a sign of growing complacency toward evaporating attention spans. Movie theaters should be one of the final bastions of full disconnection, he argued, not another place where you can check your Facebook notifications or get back to your friends on Snapchat.

“Regardless of your age, turning off your phone and focusing on a good movie is much-needed therapy. This time of focus in a darkened room is core to the experience of cinema. Only with this focus can you lose yourself completely in the story and really fall into the magic spell of the movies.”

Do you think the AMC Theatres texting ban is the right move for the company?

[Image via Syda Productions/Shuttershock]