AMC Theaters is considering caving to millennials’ needs to constantly be on their phones and allowing texting in some of its theaters.
In an interview with Variety, the chain’s CEO Adam Aron proposed the idea of incorporating “mobile-friendly” theaters at some of its locations, or breaking out a texting section to allow people to stare at their phone instead of the feature presentation.
“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,” Aaron said. “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cell phone. That’s not how they live their life.”
He admitted that the bright glows of a screen in a darkened room has the potential to be very annoying, especially to non-millennials (a.k.a. the olds). “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,” Aaron added.
Aaron, who’s been in the position for just four months, is trying to appeal to a younger base. A recent survey from Nielsen said that people aged 12 to 24 went to the theaters 15 percent less last year compared to the year prior, blaming rising ticket prices and a plethora of on-demand options at home.
Reaction veered negative about the news on Twitter:
Hey @CEOAdam can we chat about your plans to allow texting in movie theaters?
IT’S NOTTTTT OKAY. pic.twitter.com/Ev2Gr8EJ2F
— Preston & Steve Show (@PrestonSteve933) April 14, 2016
@CEOAdam As CEO you have a responsibility to protect the values of this industry. Allowing phones would be a betrayal. You’d lose customers.
— Marcus J Ball (@MarcusJBall) April 14, 2016
— Gary Miereanu (@SuperPRGuy) April 14, 2016
— Rachel Stuhler (@RachelStuhler) April 13, 2016
Aaron, on Twitter, tried to quickly soothe nerves from people to prevent further anger against his chain:
Press reported we considering a test allowing texts in a VERY FEW screens. We know vast majority of audience wants no texting (1 of 2)
— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) April 14, 2016
IF ever, we ONLY would pursue in a way we’d be TOTALLY confident ALL our guests will fully enjoy movie going experience at AMC (2 of 2)
— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) April 14, 2016
A similar message was posted on AMC’s Facebook page. Think of what we could do to lower the price of tickets or snacks if we channeled the same outrage.
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