Soon you may be able to check your Facebook, send a message on WhatsApp or update your Twitter while in the cinema. The CEO of AMC theaters believes allowing phone use during films may be the solution to the problem of shrinking cinema audiences.
The idea could make way for separate screening rooms for those who don’t mind phone use in an attempt to appeal to younger viewers.
Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment told Variety, "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."
Aron believes the way to attract that younger audience into your cinema is allowing for screening rooms that allow phone use, or maybe even specific areas within normal screening rooms where phone use would be allowed.
"We’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences" Aron continued.
"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."
If AMC decide to enact this within regular screenings it’s sure to prove unpopular with the current cinema-going audience, but if it’s achieved within separate, clearly signposted screenings it may prove popular.
AMC will need to make sure all customers enter a film screening in with the knowledge that phone use would be allowed. It’s already hard enough to enter a cinema and become absorbed by the film without getting distracted by your neighbor checking their messages.