Why Mobile-Friendly Cinemas Are a Really, Really Bad Idea

There is really no redeeming feature in the latest news that cinemas are considering implementing text-friendly cinemas for phone users.

It almost seems a little bit like an April Fools prank, or the plot to the latest episode of Black Mirror. Mobile-friendly cinemas are apparently on the brink of being introduced, and I for one think it’s a really terrible idea.

AMC Cinemas yesterday announced that they are considering bringing in mobile-friendly cinemas. The CEO of the company Adam Aron spoke to Variety about the decision saying that:

We need to reshape our product in some concrete ways so that millennials go to movie theaters with the same degree of intensity as baby boomers went to movie theaters throughout their lives.

It seems that his idea of making this change is to introduce mobile phones into the auditorium. Aron has been CEO of AMC for only four months and already he’s attempting something that will have a massive effect on the cinema industry. It’s not like the cinema industry is already having issues with low earnings and such.

I do vaguely see where he’s coming from – the way in which people consume content is always changing and it always will, but there is a certain thing as a line and I think Aron is almost about to cross it.

If someone can’t be without their phone for two hours then that’s a problem that they have, not the cinema chains. I personally do not want to be sat in a dark room, ready to watch a movie and get distracted by someone’s bright screen popping up every 5 minutes with whatsapp notifications. No thank you. I like to think that I’m not the only person that feels this way.

When discussing the potential future move, Adam Aron said:

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.

There are so many things wrong with this particular statement. If someone can’t be without their phone then they shouldn’t be in the cinema. They should wait for it to come on Netflix so they can completely miss every scene of the film in the comfort of their home. It’s entirely infuriating, and it’s completely offensive to those that have spent ages working on the product – the writers, directors, producers and actors.

Would the next move be to allow people to text whilst at the theatre?

I am a big technology geek, I like my gadgets and gizmos as much as the next millennial but I’m aware of where the limitations exist. It’s actually quite refreshing to put aside your push notifications and mundane texting for a couple of hours and get completely immersed into a film.

Even if it’s just for my own selfish benefit, I don’t want that experience to be ruined for me.

Hopefully this is something that will fly over and we’ll all joke about it in a few years time, just like we did in March 2000 when the Millennium bug never happened. It would be a real shame if this was to be introduced into cinemas, because when there’s no limits to people using their phones then I can imagine even less people will want to visit the cinema. Something which I’m sure the cinema chains really don’t want to happen, especially considering the situation they’re in now.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Bob Balaban, which says it all about the cinema experience:

I mean, the whole idea of movies was it was special to go to see – you went to a movie theater to see something that was magical and amazing, in a very special location.

(feature image via EUScreen)

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