AMC Theatres, which is about to merge with the smaller chain Carmike, is so desperate to attract audiences to the cinema that it is actually considering allowing audiences to text during screenings.
In an interview with Variety, AMC Entertainment chief Adam Aron suggested that the best way to appeal to millennials is by letting them text during a movie. “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,” Aron told Variety. “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.”
In the same breath though, Aron admitted that the average moviegoer still doesn’t want to be disturbed by sitting next to someone who has to be on their phone. So, when asked if he would consider adding special seating for texting, he said that was possible. “What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly,” Aron said.
AMC later posted a statement on Facebook to try to combat the negative press Aron’s comments have received. However, the company didn’t exactly say that text-friendly screenings are out of the question. “Press reports we are considering test allowing texts in a very few screens. We know vast majority of audience wants no texting,” the company’s statement reads. “If ever, we only would pursue this in a way that we can be totally confident ALL our guests will fully enjoy the moviegoing experience at AMC.”
Of course, instead of trying to make moviegoing a better experience for people who already don’t go, AMC could try to make the experience better for those who go regularly so they would have reasons to go more often. If what happens on a tiny screen is more important to millennials than movies on the big screen, why would they spend $10 or more to sit in a theater so they could be distracted from receiving that all-important text?
Image: AMC Theatres