There are few things more frustrating at the cinema than someone who refuses to put their phone away during the movie.
But it might be about to become a far more common occurrence: The CEO of what will soon be the world’s biggest cinema chain says he plans to let people use their smartphones during screenings.
Adam Aron is CEO of AMC Entertainment, a movie theatre chain that is preparing to acquire rival Carmike in a deal that will make it the largest movie-theatre operator in the world.
In an interview with Variety published Wednesday, Aron said his company is looking into new ways to attract millennials into its theatres — and that includes letting them text during screenings.
“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,” he said. “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their mobile phone. That’s not how they live their life.”
The CEO does recognise the frustration that the change is likely to cause many cinema-goers. “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.”
How? One option is is special texting sections, or certain screens where texting is explicitly allowed. “[Texting sections are] one possibility. What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly.”
“22-year-olds like to shoplift! What can we do??” — if the AMC CEO ran Macy’s
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) April 13, 2016