back to article AMC sobers up, apologizes for silly cinema texting plan

Chalk one up for the grumpy old complainers as AMC Theaters says it will not let people text during movies after all. The theater chain said on Friday morning that it was not going to make good on CEO Adam Aron's suggestion that the theater chain could allow people to text during film showings. Aron made the comments while …

  1. RegGuy1

    People still go to the cinema?

    Aren't TVs big enough?

    1. Pascal

      More or less for the same reason you go to the restaurant.

      Cinemas also have those 3D / dbox / etc. gimmicks that are fun once in a while, and they certainly have a better sound system than what I have in the living room.

      (With that said, I guess I've only seen one movie in a theatre in the last year).

      1. John 104

        My wife and I go once in a while for date night.

        As for "allowing" or "Not Allowing" texting in a theater. What are they going to do? Patrol the isles and ask people to leave? Not likely.

        1. Someone_Somewhere

          > What are they going to do? Patrol the isles and ask people to leave? <

          Why not?

          You bought your ticket.

          You didn't read the TOC.

          You got kicked out.

          So sad.

          They got your money.

          No refunds.

          Too bad.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            "Why not?

            You bought your ticket.

            You didn't read the TOC.

            You got kicked out.

            So sad.

            They got your money.

            No refunds.

            Too bad."

            You won't go again.

            They get less money in future.

            And in the UK you would not be able to be kicked out for breaching the ToC, unless they were explained to you at the time of purchase, under standard consumer protection legislation regarding retrospectively changing contracts and/or unfair terms. You would have to be given several warnings before anything like that happened, and as another poster says you would have to be caught by someone first.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "You won't go again.

              They get less money in future."

              I think the chain got the message that if the kiddywinks piss off a larger number of punters it's the larger number of punters who won't go again. And they get even less money in future that way.

        2. Magani
          Mushroom

          @John 104

          "What are they going to do? Patrol the isles and ask people to leave? Not likely."

          Not necessary. After being the target of the odd bit of popcorn and calls from the darkness of "Turn your bl**dy phone off", hopefully the transgressor will get the message.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: @John 104

            Life would be so much easier if within thew theater the cell signal was squelched, but that is illegal here in the land of the free(tard).

            "What if someone has an emergency?" I hear the usual claque howl.

            Then someone can step outside the theater into the corridor and make a call somewhere where the Dolby 8.27 UrfKwake(tm) surround sound won't be drowning out their voice too.

        3. BugabooSue
          Facepalm

          Re: AMC sobers up, apologizes for silly cinema texting plan

          @John 104

          But then the cinemas would actually have to PAY someone to be in a screen to patrol them!

          Until a year ago, hubby was a projectionist, and he was always saying that no-one would be in a screen during a show because they just did not have the staff available to do so on a permanent basis.

          Other than the projectionists, most people multi-job during a shift - concessions, screens, usher, screen-cleaning...

          Everything is pared to the bone - prices would probably go up again if they did patrol - they always do.

          There were usually two people patrolling a screen when I was a kid:- but that was "So last Century!" :D

        4. Phil Kingston Silver badge

          Most cinemas I've visited have fairly obvious IR cameras dotted around the place. And they can/do ask people to leave if they're seen to have an electronic device on during the main presentation.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Hopefully they'll borrow the idea of "air marshals" and have an armed undercover agent ready to shoot down those texting without warning.

        6. Kubla Cant Silver badge
          Headmaster

          A pedant writes...

          What are they going to do? Patrol the isles and ask people to leave?

          I've never seen any isles in a cinema, though most seem to have one or more aisles.

          Also, why does the article use the Merkin spelling "theater"? The AMC document depicted spells it "theatre".

          1. Old Handle

            Re: A pedant writes...

            As far as I'm aware, it's illegal to jam cellular signals, but not to physically block them. If they wanted to build a Faraday cage around the theater, I don't think anything's stopping them.

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        What everyone needs is is a good film festival. That gets people into the cinema.

        That and you get to see classics or foreign films in a way you'd never get to see (Japanese weirdness involving a tentacle monster who can travel at mach 20 and who's a teacher... Natch.?! Seriously though assassination classroom go watch it... Then watch Detroit Metal City...for mild mannered busker turned death metal super star....then wonder just what the hell they're taking and where can I get some)

    2. Matthew Taylor

      Sometimes it's nice to go out to the cinema, even if TV sets are catching up with cinema facilities. It makes an evening a bit more of an occasion than just flopping down in front of the telly. Especially if you're lucky enough to be able to visit an old independent cinema, some of the old ones really are beautiful.

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Big Brother

      "Aren't TVs big enough?"

      No. I've got a 40-incher (ooo-er missus) which felt big when I got it but it's not.

      I think I would have to go pretty large - and beyond the room and budget I have - to be able to appreciate the opening scene of A Clockwork Orange as intended, even Star Wars.

      I could probably think of other examples which really demand 'huge screen presentation' and rather pale on anything smaller.

      I suppose I could sit closer to the TV :-)

    4. raving angry loony

      re: Aren't TVs big enough?

      I've seen modern TVs bigger than some of the things they laughingly call "movie screens" in some of those multiplexes!

  2. Herby Silver badge

    Interesting that...

    public opinion does count for something these days. I just wish other entities would listen as well, and as quickly!

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Futility

      Loads of people use their phones during films for facebook, twitter and messaging. They have done for years, and they still will now. Not the blindest bit of difference has been affected.

      So this whole thing is just hot air.

    2. druck Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Interesting that...

      It smells like a publicity stunt all along to me.

  3. smartypants

    Virulent disease won't be stopped by AMC!

    This shows we haven't yet reached the tipping point, but we've all got stories about the obsessive-compulsive disorder of "smartphoneitis" and how it affects the sufferers, and I still wonder if it's just a matter of time before the entire world is infected, at which point, companies like AMC will have to start throwing people out who complain about smartphone use... and not just in cinemas.

    Last year we took our mum to see "Warhorse", the hyped stage production of a war story featuring horses. I sat next to someone who simply...could...not..stop...himself...from...filming...it. After the 3rd go, I just whispered "enough" and he snapped out of his compulsive daze, but probably his enjoyment was utterly spoiled by not being able to post up his favourite bits immediately on facebook to show what a great time he had filming warhorse.

    Another time I was at the Barbican, settling down to the start of a classical music concert. One of the afflicted was 2 rows in front and had it bad. Her fingers were a blur. Even as she was preparing to switch it off she had one last check, presumably of the status of her friends sitting next to her.

    The problem has got so bad that I'm typing this while driving the number 38 bus through Piccadilly Circus.

    Thank goodness the government is planning for 1970s-style powercuts over the next decade. Maybe that will help save us all!

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Virulent disease won't be stopped by AMC!

      The problem has got so bad that I'm typing this while driving the number 38 bus through Piccadilly Circus.

      Unless you're eating a sandwich and drinking coffee out of a thermos mug at the same time as driving the bus and texting, you're not doing it right...

    2. Ian 55

      Re: Virulent disease won't be stopped by AMC!

      The last time I saw Cosi Fan Tutte in London, some young woman behind me waited until the second act started before beginning to make a call.

      I am generally against the death penalty, but I'd happily pull the lever for this.

    3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Virulent disease won't be stopped by AMC!

      > I sat next to someone who simply...could...not..stop...himself...from...

      Last time I went to a live gig, there was a young couple who arrived a little late, and almost immediately the lad was on the phone. Bear in mind that this is the sort of gig where I wear earplugs, his yacking was distracting. After a while I just casually asked if he'd be on the phone all evening, he asked me if it was annoying me, I answered in the affirmative.

      He at least had the decency to step outside to carry on, but shortly his young lady companion also left and I don't think they saw more than a few minutes of the performance - I assume something came up.

      The tickets weren't cheap, so I do have to wonder at the mentality of some people.

  4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Oh, great

    ".. and expand the food and drink menu."

    So, more stinky cheesy dips, then ? And popcorn or sweets even more expensive than motorway service stations.

    Bring back the interval and the lady with the tray of ice creams.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Oh, great

      Cineworld allow bring your own food. McDogdoo, KFC and Dominos are not unusual smells for popular films these days.

    2. Snafu1

      Re: Oh, great

      "Albatross!"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seemed a bone-headed idea from the start.

    Attract obnoxious arsehats to your theater in order to drive away the people who currently buy tickets.

    How about the other direction: cell phone jammers so that the patrons can watch the movie without being interrupted by ring tones or a play by play narration someone is supplying to their friends in the cell block who couldn't get out to buy a ticket?

    1. Shooter

      @ Meldreth:

      Cell phone jammers would be illegal

      RF blocking paint, however, would not be. Maybe that should be part of their $1 billion overhaul budget.

  6. ecofeco Silver badge

    Since when do they NOT allow phones to be used?

    They have rules against using your phone in the theater? Since when?

    Yeah, I see the polite announcement at the beginning of the show, but enforcement? What's that?

  7. PhilipN Silver badge

    George Bernard Shaw

    If I can find a link I shall repost but I can only imagine with a smirk what GBS may have said on this topic. He once wrote after attending a concert of his unhappiness (danger zone ...) at seeing a woman member of the audience with a dead bird nailed to her head. Took a brief while - GBS was nothing if not plausible with his pungency - to realise he was complaining about her hat.

  8. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    snipped to "may have heard reports considering testing whether some might in a small selection" - that's overkill on playing it down.

  9. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I really wish.....

    .....TPTB would allow cinemas, theatres, restaurants and such to use mobile jammers.

    I'd even pay more for a "jammed" rather than "unjammed" venue.

    BTW, I still can't see why "OMFG!11! Think of the heart attack victim surrounding by idiots too fucking thick to think of moving out of jamming range or using a landline!!111!!" even qualifies as an argument.

  10. veti Silver badge

    That's a shame

    I was quite happy to let the Free Market sort this one out.

    Either there's a substantial number of potential-movie-goers who think that texting in movie theatres is a reasonable thing to do...

    ... or there isn't.

    If there is, then why shouldn't those people be served? Nobody is forced to go to a show that's advertised as 'text-allowed'. You don't like it, don't go to those shows. Problem solved.

    If there isn't an audience for it, then the trial would be a failure and the cinemas would go back to normal.

    Either way, there was nothing to lose and potentially something to gain. And now that's been robbed from us by stroppy pre-millennials on Twitter. Pity.

    1. Just Enough

      Re: That's a shame

      Yes. Like the Free Market sorted out smoking in public places. Oh, it didn't. What happened is a significant minority were happy to share their smoking hobby with those around them, and everyone else had to suck it up (literally), or be seen as the fussy kill-joy who should have stayed at home. It took laws to sort that out.

      Texting during performances is much the same. If not enforced, the thoughtless gits will be just fine with telling the rest of us to live with it, or sod off.

      1. Eric Olson

        Re: That's a shame

        Yes. Like the Free Market sorted out smoking in public places. Oh, it didn't. What happened is a significant minority were happy to share their smoking hobby with those around them, and everyone else had to suck it up (literally), or be seen as the fussy kill-joy who should have stayed at home. It took laws to sort that out.

        Texting during performances is much the same. If not enforced, the thoughtless gits will be just fine with telling the rest of us to live with it, or sod off.

        A terrible example. Comparing a bystander health-impacting habit to a health impact-free habit of texting is just silly. You don't like people using their phone in a theater. Fine. But if you sit next to someone with their phone out, does you suffer from respiratory issues or suffer a relapse into an unhealthy habit? If so, you may want to seek professional help...

  11. nilfs2
    Trollface

    My brilliant idea!!

    The movie should be paused every time someone is using its phone, people will take care of the offender in no time!.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: My brilliant idea!!

      > The movie should be paused every time someone is using its phone, people will take care of the offender in no time!

      We have a wonderful and rather old fashioned cinema where I live - I was there only last night with my good lady. It's a shame that it often only has small numbers in while people go and pay more to use the faceless and dull multiplex in the next town. It has been known for the film to pause and a member of staff to tell a group of unruly kids to behave or leave.

      But as pointed out above, they typically only have 2 members of staff - both multitasking. When it's time for the program to start, front of house drops to one person selling tickets and selling nibbles while the other person nips up to start the film. Then during the interval (something else the boring multiplex doesn't have) there's a delay while the projectionist gets downstairs to man the counter - the other person doing the traditional tray of icecreams bit.

      They still had the old arc-lamp projector until not all that long ago - then one day I walked past and looked in the skip, and there it was in little bits.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019