AMC Backtracks On Experiment To Allow Texting In Theaters After Outcry

Apr 15, 2016
Originally published on April 15, 2016 5:11 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Texting in movie theaters - generally not allowed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED VOICEOVER: Tiny sounds add up to epic disturbances. Resist the urge to talk and text during the movie.

SHAPIRO: Yesterday, NPR's pop culture blogger Linda Holmes and our film critic Bob Mondello talked about a trial balloon that had been sent up by the CEO of AMC Entertainment about maybe permitting texting in a few of its theaters. That balloon has now burst as Bob Mondello found out this morning.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: I tried all day yesterday to get hold of someone from AMC, but nobody wanted to talk. Today? Different story. In my email inbox, a note from their head of corporate relations saying AMC guests spoke, and we listened - no texting at AMC.

In the body of the email was a statement from chief executive Adam Aron who floated the idea. He said he had, quote, "heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want. There will be" - and this was in all caps - "no texting allowed in any of the auditoriums at AMC Theatres - not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future," end quote.

This is almost exactly what happened, incidentally, when Regal Theaters (ph), another national chain, wondered about relaxing its cell phone ban four years ago. The blowback was every bit as intense back then. But some lessons don't take the first time.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR film critic Bob Mondello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.