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12.20 14 Apr 2016


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You can't go to the cinema anymore without some kind of big screen request to make sure you keep your phone on silent, and keep the distracting glare away from others.

While it is very much a pet hate for other cinema goers, one of the biggest cinema chains in America is preparing to move with the times by introducing text-friendly screenings.

AMC Entertainment and the Carmike cinema chain are about to merge, becoming the world's largest cinema operator, and speaking to Variety on the topic, the company's new CEO Adam Aron had some thoughts on the topic:

"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."

While Aron is aware that allowing anyone and everyone to text whenever they want, the idea is "that we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly."

Of course, the issue remains that if you're allowing texting to happen in some screenings, will that be a deterrent to cinema-goers in other screenings?

An Irish cinema employee said "I think it's a ludicrous idea. Surely allowing anyone to do this will only make them think that it's okay to do it all the time? Do you really think that those people who already take their phones out and use them in normal screenings will only do it now in these specific screenings? Any plans to allow more texting or phone usage are a terrible idea."

And, of course, they're absolutely right.

One of the reasons why every time there's conversations about cinema becoming a dying art-form in the face of piracy and Netflix and everything else is because none of those mediums can provide that same immersive experience.

There is nothing quite like sitting a giant, darkened room with hundreds of other people and allowing a massive visual and aural event wash over you all.

And there is nothing quite like having that event ruined by the sudden distracting glare of a mobile phone, or the reality-grounded sound of a phone ringing somewhere around you.

Back in 2003, a law was passed to stop signal-jamming devices being used in cinemas, which goes to show just far some chains went the other way against phone usage.

There has to be some kind of happy medium where people can manage to sit in a room for about two hours and not check their phones while they're there. If you can't manage that, then (A) you probably should just stay at home, and (B) you're probably addicted to your mobile phone. Which is real thing, by the way.


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