World's biggest theater chain cans idea to let people use phones during films


Update: AMC has said the theater chain will not allow texting in "the foreseeable future".

CEO Adam Aron released a statement on Friday that read "We have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want.

"In this age of social media, we get feedback from you almost instantaneously and as such, we are constantly listening. Accordingly, just as instantaneously, this is an idea that we have relegated to the cutting room floor."

Aron continued "With your advice in hand, there will be NO TEXTING ALLOWED in any of the auditoriums at AMC Theatres. Not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future."

Original: Soon you may be able to check your Facebook, send a message on WhatsApp or update your Twitter while in the cinema. The CEO of AMC theaters believes allowing phone use during films may be the solution to the problem of shrinking cinema audiences.

The idea could pave the way for separate screening rooms for those who don't mind people using their phones, in an attempt to appeal to younger viewers.

Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment told Variety: "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."

Controversial choices

Aron believes the way to attract that younger audience into cinemas is by providing screening rooms in which phone use is permitted, or perhaps specific areas within regular screening rooms where phone use would be allowed.

"We're going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't disturb today's audiences," Aron continued.

"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."

If AMC decides to permit phone use during regular screenings it's sure to prove unpopular with most cinema-goers – but if it's restricted to separate, clearly signposted screenings it may prove popular.

AMC will need to make sure all customers enter a screening clear in the knowledge that phone use is allowed. It's already hard enough to absorb yourself in a film without getting distracted by your neighbour checking their messages.

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James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.