UPDATE: AMC THEATERS HAS RETRACTED ITS PROPOSAL TO ALLOW CELL PHONES.
AMC made the announcement today via Twitter:
Good looking out, AMC. We’re proud of you.
AMC Theaters wants to ruin everything for everyone, forever.
In an attempt to corner the Millennial market, CEO Adam Aron announced that the group of theaters may allow the use of cellphones during select screenings. With rising ticket prices and the prevalence of illegal streaming, the company is trying to identify new ways to engage with its audiences.
Aron believes that allowing the use of cellphones and social media in a theatrical environment would encourage more young viewers to attend. According to Aron, creating a tech-friendly atmosphere may be the Golden Ticket to the hearts of Millennial moviegoers.
To Mr. Aron, we respectfully say:
That’s a NO, BTW.
The newly-minted CEO justified the potential shift in policy at Cinemacon during an interview with Variety Magazine. Aron had this to say:
“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.”
That may be a tad melodramatic, but Aron’s argument is (unfortunately) well-founded. Millennials are notorious for their tech addictions, rarely seen without a smartphone or tablet in hand.
While lifting the ban on texting and Tweeting might just lure in waves of said Millennials, it’s also pretty likely to piss a whole lotta people off. Like … everyone.
^ My Feels when someone starts texting during THE MOST IMPORTANT PART.
This isn’t the first time that a theater has publicly considered removing or relaxing cell phone bans. In these situations, however, the resulting backlash has always been overwhelming and swift. Aron recognizes the difference in public opinion, claiming that AMC would strive for balance if the changes were to go into effect.
“At the same time, though, 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.”
When asked how he would execute such a balance, Aron suggested the possibility of ‘social media friendly’ zones or specific showings that catered to the younger crowd.
It sounds great in theory, but only if the projected increase in revenue (driven by Millennial attendance spikes) would outweigh the possible costs associated with losing older patrons after the transition. After all, it’s not unlikely (or unreasonable) that some moviegoers would simply pick another theater altogether.
For consumers that have a handful of theaters within driving distance, the choice would be even easier. AMC’s proposition, while potentially lucrative, may bring more headaches than ticket sales.
So really, how much of this plan is an awful idea?