AMC sends movie theater texting idea 'to cutting room floor'

Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:04pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The AMC movie theater chain on Friday ditched the idea of allowing movie-goers to text while watching films, saying a proposal it floated this week has been "relegated to the cutting room floor."

AMC chief executive Adam Aron said the company, the second largest movie chain in the United States, had listened to feedback from customers who were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

"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," Aron said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"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," he added.

Aron told Hollywood trade paper Variety this week that AMC, which operates in more than 300 locations in the United States, was open to making some of its theaters texting and mobile device friendly to attract more Millennials into theaters.

"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," Aron told Variety. "You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That's not how they live their life."

But the suggestion caused an uproar, with many customers saying on social media that they would stop going to AMC theaters, or complaining that texting would be distracting.

"Unless you say that you will never allow texting I will never attend one of your theaters again," tweeted one user, Peter Avellino, in a response echoed by many other postings.

Tim League, the chief executive of the Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse movie theater franchise, also came out against the idea saying in a website posting that texting in a movie theater was disrespectful to film makers and "could seriously hurt our industry."

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by James Dalgleish)