A lot of the time internet outrage is stupid, ineffective, or both. But on rare occasions we can all come together in one, reasonable voice and say, “Nope. Noooooope. Don’t do that, that’s really dumb and infuriating and really don’t do that,” and we can make the world a better place—or at least our local theater. Well, we did it everyone, because AMC Theatres announced Friday that they are already abandoning plans to allow texting in their theaters, following a very loud and very negative reaction to the idea.
Just this week the theater chain acknowledged reports that they were open to allowing texting during some screenings, and were ready to begin experimenting with the new (lack of) rules in an effort to make their movie going experience more welcoming to millenials.
Well, never mind, because today they released a statement announcing that won’t be happening, because everyone lost their mind with anger.
All is right in the world. Even if the plan involved a “small selection of theaters,” it never would have been treated as such. It would have become a much bigger problem in all AMC Theatres.
It was CEO Adam Aron’s comments to Variety that set off the crapstorm that followed, when he answered a question about efforts to appeal to younger consumers by saying, “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.”
For a second let’s forget how annoying phones in a movie theater are, and instead focus on the continued infantilization of young people. This is what he was really saying, “We can’t trust young people to be decent, polite citizens, so we’ll just cater to them like the babies they are.”
Yeah, young people love their phones. So do I. So do plenty of people older than I am. We still understand basic decency and behavior and put them away when the movie starts. Stop treating young people like a sub-group not worthy of being taken seriously. Every generation has a-holes and jerks, and no one should be marketing to appease or encourage them. Most kids in a theater don’t take out their phones. We’ve all been there when some older guy has answered his phone like he was in his living room, too.
This was a stupid idea to begin with, but fortunately and with all due credit to AMC they figured it out quickly and listened to what their consumers want from them. Correcting a dumb idea is a much better sign of a company’s worth (and I should note I am a loyal AMC Theatres customer) than just having a dumb idea.
Just make sure you turn your damn phone off when you go see a movie, no matter how old you are okay?
Would you have been willing to go to a theater that allowed texting during the film? Or, like a bunch of us, would you have brought your business somewhere else? Tell us in the comments below.
Image: Andreas Praefcke