Following a social media outcry from moviegoers, the new head of AMC Entertainment said in a statement released to AMC guests on social platforms that there will be no texting allowed in theaters. “Not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future,” he promised.
“NO TEXTING AT AMC. Won’t happen. You spoke. We listened. Quickly, that idea has been sent to the cutting room floor,” the AMC Theatres official Twitter account wrote.
Aron caused a stir online following the Wednesday remarks, even promoting Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League to openly criticize his proposal on Thursday. “I disagree with his statements on texting in a movie theater,” League said. “Innovation in this direction could seriously hurt our industry.”
But Aron made clear that the online furor (“we have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want”) over the possibility of texting in theaters had led him to rethink that flexibility.
“In this age of social media, we get feedback from you almost instantaneously and as such, we are constantly listening,” Aron added in his statement. “Accordingly, just as instantaneously, this is an idea that we have relegated to the cutting room floor.”
Aron, who assumed the reins of the country’s second largest theater chain on Jan. 4 following Gerry Lopez’s departure, told Variety during CinemaCon, the exhibition trade show which wrapped on Thursday, that he was open to making some theaters texting and mobile device-friendly.
He suggested that the laxer cellphone policy would appeal to millennials who are glued to their phones.
“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 said. “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.”
In order to not disturb or distract audiences, he said the theater chain would consider allocating certain sections or specific auditoriums for texting.
Aron noted in his statement on Friday that AMC is investing more than $1 billion in the next few years to enhance its theaters in other ways. This includes technological advancements, adding more large screens, more comfortable seating, and new food and beverage offerings.
Here’s Aron’s full statement to AMC guests:
To our AMC guests,
At AMC, we are committed to innovation and to being imaginative in our efforts to deliver you the best. We strive every single day to make your movie going experience at AMC Theatres simply amazing. You love the magic of movies, and we love doing all we can to make them all the more magical for you.
During the past few days, you may have heard media reports about another idea AMC Theatres was considering, testing whether some movie goers might want texting allowed in a small selection of our theatres. Unlike the many AMC advancements that you have applauded, 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.
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.
Instead, we’ll focus on our other ideas to delight and entertain you. In the next few years, we intend to invest more than $1 billion to continuously enhance our theatres and systems. At AMC, you’ll feel our commitment to providing you with the absolute best in sight and sound technology, a significant increase to the number of our large screens, including the incomparable experiences created by IMAX and Dolby Cinema, much more comfortable seating, including our hugely popular recliners, new sumptuous food and beverage offerings, a more engaging AMC Stubs program, as well as dramatically richer content in an enhanced website and more functional smartphone app. These are all in our immediate future – and yours — across the country at AMC.
We’ll continue to be as creative as we can to elevate the AMC experience, doing so in partnership with you, our guests, and never in a way that will compromise your love of coming out to the movies.
So, as always, we invite you to join us in sharing the excitement of seeing stories told well. However, when the lights dim, we’ll remember your advice that your fellow moviegoers should turn off their phones.