AMC Entertainment CEO Open To Texting in Some Theaters
Texting and cell phone use could soon be permitted in movie theaters as executives grapple with ways to attract millennial audiences.
AMC’s New CEO Said Turning Off Phones Is Unrealistic
The largest cinema chain in the US is considering letting customers use their mobile phones during films as executives try to lure millennial audiences.
Adam Aron, AMC chief executive of only four months, said he wanted to encourage millennials to visit the cinema. Aron suggested that allowing mobile phone use during a film might appeal to these young adults.
His comment came only weeks after AMC Entertainment bought rival Carmike, making it the largest retail movie theater chain in the country.
“A phone is like a body part for millennials,” he said in an interview this week. “If cinemas want to survive, they need that audience, therefore they need texting.”
Some of his moves may ruffle feathers, including a bid to attract younger, smartphone savvy consumers for whom he is open to making some theaters texting and mobile device-friendly.
That may make him unpopular, but Aron claimed the no-phone policy is outdated because turning off a phone, for a teen, is like ‘cutting off your left arm above the elbow.’
“If cinemas want to survive, he said, the glow of 100 little screens is a worthwhile sacrifice to make.”
He explained that 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.
“At the same time, though, we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences. 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.”
“I’d like to reach out to people interested in motion pictures long before they come to our theaters and after they leave.”
Aron explained to Variety magazine that one possibility is to make specific auditoriums more ‘texting friendly.’ Aron said he also hopes to bring in upscale amenities such as plush reclining chairs, full bars and expanded food options to reach more markets.
VIDEO: Nations Largest Movie Chain May Allow Texting To Attract Millennials