Just as AMC was starting to win customers back by replacing every old seat in its auditoriums with recliners, the company wants to destroy that good will among moviegoers. That's because CEO Adam Aron thinks letting people use their phones during a movie would be a good idea. "When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off their phone, don't ruin the movie, they hear 'please cut off your left arm above the elbow,'" Aron tells Variety. "You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That's not how they live their life." Yes, he actually said that.
This could be seen as an extension of recreating a home-like experience at a theater, vis a vis said recliner seats. But the difference here is that if you're using your phone while watching a flick at home, you're only affecting yourself and maybe your significant other -- not the 100 or more people who paid to get into the theater. Movie theaters and places of worship are a few of the remaining places where using a cellphone is verboten, and by pandering to this demographic's horrible habit AMC is stripping away common courtesy and setting a gross precedent in the name of profits.
Aron says that certain sections where texting would be allowed is one possibility for this, while the more likely situation would be having specific auditoriums set up to be "more texting friendly." If the chain is willing to kick out someone wearing Google Glass for fear of piracy, though, how is it going to differentiate someone texting from a person recording what's on the screen with their phone?
Contrast this with The Alamo Drafthouse which will happily eject you from a showing if you're talking or texting, or won't even let you into the auditorium if you're late. As you can imagine, Twitter is lighting up with people decrying this, and for good reason: It's an absolutely stupid move that could drive away already loyal customers in an effort to chase those it isn't reaching anyway.
"22-year-olds like to shoplift! What can we do??" -- if the AMC CEO ran Macy's— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) April 13, 2016
And that's one way to keep me out of AMC theaters. Really hope they reconsider. https://t.co/DNthAggJIs— Chris Pugh (@ChrisLikesDinos) April 13, 2016