AMC Theaters Changes Course, Won’t Allow Texting During Movies

One day after AMC Entertainment started talking about allowing texting in particular theaters, the company announced it would not be making that change after all. The CEO of the firm discussed the possibility of making the move as a way to attract younger viewers to its chain, but the reaction to AMC’s decision was almost uniformly negative.

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The company’s chief executive officer Adam Aron is now claiming the company wasn’t even seriously considering the plan but rather just floating an idea and looking for feedback. If that is indeed the point of AMC talking about a plan most people would immediately hate, then the firm got the feedback it was looking for from the get go. Complex reports Aron sent out a statement Friday morning, making it clear the idea has been effectively shot down.

“During the past few days, you may have heard media reports about another idea AMC Theaters was considering, testing whether moviegoers might want texting allowed in a small selection of our theaters. Unlike the many AMC advancements that you have applauded, we have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want,” Aron said in his declaration.

At the same time, the company’s CEO was announcing this through a press release; the firm also took to Twitter in order to make sure everyone who might have been worried about the ideas knew they could rest easy. On that Twitter page, AMC Theaters said the public had spoken, and they were listening. The idea of allowing texting had been sent to the cutting room floor.

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The real question now is what sort of move AMC is going to make now. The company’s idea to allow texting in individual theaters was a kind of desperate move to lure millennials to the movies. Aron admitted as much in an interview where the texting policy first surfaced. Aron said he felt as though telling a young adult they needed to turn off their cell phone is the same as asking them to cut off one of their arms.

The plan to get people into more AMC Theaters would have meant only very specific theaters would allow texting, though it appears most people would have avoided those locations like the plague. Since the company first floated the potential plan, there have been very few comments that were supportive of the move. Even a majority of millennials who weighed in didn’t seem to think it was a good idea to allow anyone to send texts and stare at their phones while a film is going on.

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After Aron had made his comments, the response was one of quick condemnation all over social media. Elijah Wood was just one of the celebrities who didn’t like the exec’s comments. The actor said he felt it was disrespectful to allow anyone to be looking at their phones, or pulling their phones out during a movie. Others have weighed in as well, saying it made people who were trying to become immersed in the story they were watching get pulled out, because they are suddenly seeing some light coming from some place other than the big screen. With their decision to scrap the plan, AMC Theaters is attempting to save a little face, but only time will tell if it works.

[Photo by Branimir Kvartuc/AP Images]