It’s come to this: texting may soon be allowed in movie theaters, according to the head of America’s biggest chain. It’s all part of a scheme to lure in younger audiences, which apparently would be worth the trade-off of angering anyone who actually wants to enjoy a movie without the distraction of little glowing screens everywhere.
In an interview with Variety, newly-minted AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron spoke of needing to make the moviegoing experience more attractive to millennials:
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.
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.
Today’s moviegoer will be relieved to hear that Aron’s plan includes designating certain auditoriums as “texting friendly.” So it won’t be like back in ye olden days, when you’d be sitting in a restaurant’s “non-smoking section” but still be inhaling the equivalent of a pack of Camel Lights from a nearby table.
Still, though—is this really necessary? Is nothing sacred? Can’t we just agree that one of the best parts of going to a movie is turning off one’s phone and getting lost what’s happening on the big screen for a few hours? And also, can we make it so that people who turn on their phones in non-“texting friendly” theaters actually do have their arms cut off at the elbow? Just asking.