Should We Bail on AMC Theaters If They Allow Texting?

If you text in a theater, we will sik John Wick on your ass.

4-14-16: I came across a piece on Variety that says that AMC Theaters will start allowing some texting during movies. WTF?

The man who has only been in charge of AMC theaters for almost four months, Adam Aron, who has quite the resume of where and whom he has worked for. But now he's in charge of AMC theaters and he seems to be thinking about allowing those Ahole texters to actually use their phones during movies.

He wants to appeal to younger movie-goers by adding this potential new feature to his chain of movie theaters.

Did he not learn anything when back in 2012 another theater chain suggested the same thing, and the public went berserk on them.

Part of the issue is that he wants more people coming to movie theaters.

He does recognize that the lynch mobs will be willing and ready to fry any cell phone user so he's trying to figure out a way to set this up to be as less intrusive than it could be.

The two thoughts he touched on are to either set aside sections of a theater for those who need to drag their electronic life into the theater with them or even setting aside theaters just for cell phone users who are unable to cut off their texting hand for a mere two hours.

But hey, they have to figure something out to stay afloat.


My gut reaction to allowing people to use their cell phones during movies is not a good one.

My first thought is how can I build a personal signal blocker so no one around me can use their phones. (Keep in mind, that's a joke. It is actually illegal to block the signals that cell phones use. That's why movie theaters have not done that before now)

With that said, my next thought is that if a movie theater can cut down on how much it costs a consumer to go see a movie, that would be a good start. I mean for two people to hit up a matinee and even consider the idea of a small drink and popcorn, that's an instant $30-40. Dudes, we can buy the movie for less than half that in just a few months!

But before we attack the movie theaters, we have to look at their business model and why they charge airport prices for their food.

When a movie opens, the movie theater shares a percentage of their ticket sales with the distributing studio. Do you remember that just before Iron Man 3 opened, Disney decided to renegotiate their take in ticket sales, holding the film over their heads, with the threat of pulling it from their entire chain if they did not agree?

Disney did the same thing with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when they threatened the Cinerama Dome to pull The Hateful Eight and replace it with their own film, or they'd pull the film from ALL their theaters

But I digress.

Most studios get just around a 50% cut in ticket sales, while Disney pushed for a 65% cut back when they used Iron Man 3 as a leverage item.

The first few weeks of any screening, studios get this cut and then as time goes on, the theater's cut starts to go up.

But because of this crazy business model, theaters need to charge that "arm and a leg" for their popcorn and soda. Or they'd go out of business.


I'm not actively defending movie theaters, I am only pointing out why we, the movie fan, gets ripped so hard.  But to be honest, even though it's not addressed in the original article, lowering prices is the way to do. It's bad enough that 3D tickets cost 150% that of the regular ticket, hence, inflating box office takes beyond all measure.

But moving on, if AMC does decide to relax their cell phone restrictions, there are issues to be addressed.

A few months back I saw a piece about the idea of letting cell phone users sit in the back rows.

That's great... but what about those who don't drag their electronic umbilical cord with them that do want to sit in the back row? OR what about those who will take the permissions a step farther and start making phone calls?

And if they do carve out shows for texting fools, now you have to weed your way through the noise of ticket sales while you figure out what time is 3D, 4D or 2D.  It's already annoying enough when theaters (as instructed by the distributing studio) almost force you to see 3D movies because the schedule more than half their screenings in 3D.

Then there's the money-spending demographic.

When you read about TV ratings, the most important demographic, the one that sways production choices, is the 18-49 year old segment. It's this segment that has the most money to burn, so the focus is on them. Not those that are possibly smarter, older and or wiser.

That's who is being targeted with this new marketing scheme. If it even gets off the ground.

So if they want people to show up, drop $20-30 a person so they can sit and text, while distracting other movie-goers, I suspect this might not pan out like they want.

I don't know what the answer is to get more people in the theaters. Drop the prices of concessions. Introduce intermissions again, considering how long tent pole movies are getting these days. Make the experience a true escape from the real world...  not make it a situation where you get distracted form your entertainment, diminishing your experience that you came for.

4-15-16:  UPDATE

Have you ever seen an update before a piece even went live???  LOL. It's the next day and apparently AMC's idea about allowing texting in movie theaters sparked a bit of response out there.

Today, Friday, 4-15, AMC released this enlightened statement:

At AMC, we are committed to innovation and to being imaginative in our efforts to deliver you the best. We strive every single day to make your movie going experience at AMC Theatres simply amazing. You love the magic of movies, and we love doing all we can to make them all the more magical for you.
During the past few days, you may have heard media reports about another idea AMC Theatres was considering, testing whether some movie goers might want texting allowed in a small selection of our theatres. Unlike the many AMC advancements that you have applauded, we have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want. In this age of social media, we get feedback from you almost instantaneously and as such, we are constantly listening. Accordingly, just as instantaneously, this is an idea that we have relegated to the cutting room floor.
With your advice in hand, there will be NO TEXTING ALLOWED in any of the auditoriums at AMC Theatres. Not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future.
Instead, we’ll focus on our other ideas to delight and entertain you. In the next few years, we intend to invest more than $1 billion to continuously enhance our theatres and systems. At AMC, you’ll feel our commitment to providing you with the absolute best in sight and sound technology, a significant increase to the number of our large screens, including the incomparable experiences created by IMAX and Dolby Cinema, much more comfortable seating, including our hugely popular recliners, new sumptuous food and beverage offerings, a more engaging AMC Stubs program, as well as dramatically richer content in an enhanced website and more functional smartphone app. These are all in our immediate future – and yours – across the country at AMC.
We’ll continue to be as creative as we can to elevate the AMC experience, doing so in partnership with you, our guests, and never in a way that will compromise your love of coming out to the movies.
So, as always, we invite you to join us in sharing the excitement of seeing stories told well. However, when the lights dim, we’ll remember your advice that your fellow moviegoers should turn off their phones.

Still, they need to come up with some way to get more people in theaters. What do you think???
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[ Variety ], [ Yahoo ]

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  1. There is already a way to text during a film... STAY AT HOME and BUY THE DVD..

    We tend to go to see movies at the cheap theater now, $4.50 each and $3.50 for kids and $7 for a large popcorn and drink.

    We went to see Star Wars (2nd time) and we were the only ones in the theater and it cost me $25 (including kids special).

    As you said i can go buy the movie for $19 now...


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