Author Topic: Theater chains considering allowing texting (and phone usage) during movies?  (Read 1050 times)

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MontyServo

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I am surpised this hasn't been mentioned here yet, so let's start the discussion.

From Deadline.com

Quote
This is a subject that gets movie execs going based on the lively debate this morning at a panel about industry issues at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas. Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Jeff Blake kicked off the discussion saying that 20 years ago “kids would come every week” to the movies. But no more. “I’m concerned that the moviegoing experience isn’t just for baby boomers.” Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles says that her chain currently discourages cell phone use “but if we had a movie that appealed to a younger demographic, we could test some of these concepts.” For example, she says the chain talked about being more flexible about cell phone use at some screens that showed 21 Jump Street. “You’re trying to figure out if there’s something you can offer in the theater that I would not find appealing but my 18-year-old son” might. IMAX’s Greg Foster seemed to like the idea of relaxing the absolute ban on phone use in theaters. His 17-year-old son “constantly has his phone with him,” he says. “We want them to pay $12 to $14 to come into an auditorium and watch a movie. But they’ve become accustomed to controlling their own existence.” Banning cell phone use may make them “feel a little handcuffed.” That set off Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse — a small chain that makes a point of throwing out customers who talk or text during a film. “Over my dead body will I introduce texting into the movie theater,” he says. “I love the idea of playing around with a new concept. But that is the scourge of our industry. … It’s our job to understand that this is a sacred space and we have to teach manners.” He says it should be “magical” to come to the cinema. But Miles shot back that “one person’s opinion of magical isn’t the other’s.”

Execs had other pet peeves. For example, Foster decries ads for TV shows in movie theaters. “My tentacles go up,” he says. “How is this possible?” Blake says that moviemakers face “a real challenge” overseas where theaters often mix ads with trailers. The trailer “is the lifeblood of producers and the marketing department” — and one of the top three reasons why people go to the movies. “It’s so important to play those trailers properly, lights down at showtime.” League, whose chain serves meals, also said that there’s “kickback” among consumers on concession pricing — especially the core staples. “Those prices do seem high to me,” he says. “You can get a pint of beer for less than it costs to buy a large soda.”

All I have to say is that I hardly ever go to movies anymore like I used to, simply because of shit like this.  I have an awesome huge television at home and can even do the 3D if I so desire, so why should I go and see a movie 3 or 4 months ahead of when I can otherwise do so at home, just to sit in a theater with a bunch of slack jawed imbeciles whipping out their phones at random.  Eff that noise!


Offline goflyblind

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i tend to go in the middle of the day, weeks after initial release (ahh, the grad student's life), so the theatre's usually pretty empty. in the last four years, i can only recall once noticing someone looking at their phone and i'm pretty sure that was during previews.
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Offline Relaxing Dragon

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I've seen articles like this before, and it always bothers me. As many problems as most theater chains have these days (and they do have many), this is not one that's going to help.

Now, I admit, I honestly have not encountered too many people on phones when I go to the movies. It does happen that a light will come on every once in a while at a screening, but it's usually so fleeting I don't even notice. I do go to an awful lot of morning shows that aren't very crowded, yes, but I go to plenty of more normal, crowded showtimes, and it's still not the biggest issue. But extended texts and the occasional ring, that drives me batty. You're in here for two hours, it will not kill you to shut the thing off and pipe down.

Tim League's got it right. And while the Drafthouse is a (sadly) tiny chain, it also seems to be doing it right, if only because it's the one batch of theaters that's posting crazy profits and expanding while all other theater chains are losing money.


MontyServo

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I would love to be able to open a Drafthouse style theater here in my town and have that be my profession.  I wonder if he is willing to franchise that.  I would probably run it into the ground by programming old films that appealed more to me than the general "movie geek" public.


Offline Relaxing Dragon

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I would love to be able to open a Drafthouse style theater here in my town and have that be my profession.  I wonder if he is willing to franchise that.  I would probably run it into the ground by programming old films that appealed more to me than the general "movie geek" public.

I've sometimes wondered if movie theaters should go after that sort of crowd over the "average" cinema goer. I mean, a customer who frequents your business anywhere from one to four times a week should be considered more valuable than one who drops in once a month, right?

But then I realize that, like it or not, there's just far, far more of the latter than the former. Plus even in Movie Geek circles the sort of movies they'll actually turn out to see tend to vary widely. All well and good to cater to different niche crowds, but it's hard to base a business model on it.


Offline RoninFox

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Almost every single time I've gone to the theater over the past few years (even going to the drafthouse) there's some asswipe with a phone nearby, shining it in my face as he or she texts constantly.  Any theater that openly allows that will never recieve a dime from me.
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Offline Gandalf Lundgren

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Alamo Drafthouse's policy should be the norm in evey cinema. I agree with it 100%. People need to  have some respect for other people. Shut up & turn your phone off.


Offline Smith Dr John Smith

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If my movie theater were to start allowing people to talk ion their cellphones I would stop going to the movies and wait for the DvD.  Movies cost about $10 now I shouldn't have to listen to someone talking over the movie.
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