Proposal to allow people to use phones during movies described as ‘the end of civilisation’

By Brendan Trembath, posted 15 Apr 2016, 1:06pm

In a bold attempt to get more younger people into cinemas, one of America’s largest cinema chains is considering allowing customers to use mobile phones during films. Concerned film critics are likening it to the end of civilisation.

The idea comes from AMC’s new chief executive, Adam Aron, who told Variety that he was open to allowing mobile phone use in some cinemas.

“You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cell phone. That’s not how they live their life,” Mr Aron said.

He went on to say one possibility would be to have a “texting section”, or a “specific auditorium and make them more texting friendly”.

Regular cinema-goer Nick Molteno, 22, said he had doubts about allowing mobile phone use in some cinemas.

“I think they’re a distraction honestly, you’re there to watch a movie … People have text messages go off and it just kind of disrupts the flow of the movie,” he said.

Greg King, a film critic and secretary of the Australian Film Critics Association, said he was not a fan of the idea.

“I think it’s the end of civilisation as we know it,” he said.

“Surely people can go to the movies for two hours and just turn off their mobile phones, cut themselves off from what’s happening outside the world.

“After all going to the movies is a unique experience where you go there to immerse yourself in this theatre spectacle or this intimate drama … You don’t need to be updating your Facebook status or texting your friends about what’s going on in the movie all the time.

“It’s distracting to other patrons around you, most people don’t realise that when their little screen lights up, you can see it at the back of the cinema half the time.”

Mr Aron was also asked by Variety whether he was considering partnering with Screening Room, a start-up idea from American entrepreneur Sean Parker, he refused to comment.

The Screening Room would allow audiences to legally watch brand new movies from the comfort of their living room.

This, like Mr Aron’s idea, has been met by howls of anger by some parts of the film industry as a threat to cinemas.


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