You could almost feel the panic spreading across the land.
Adam Aron, CEO of theater chain AMC Theatres, sat down for an interview with Variety this week. The conversation turned to millennials and how to appeal to them. Aron said he'd be open to allowing people to use cellphones or to text during movies. A lot of film-goers, however, were not the least bit thrilled by the concept and let AMC know about it through social media channels.
AMC Theatres knew it had hit on a very touchy subject. On Friday, the theater chain fled from the texting idea faster than you can say "Avengers sequel." A statement released on Twitter started with this missive in all-caps: "NO TEXTING AT AMC."
The full statement, addressed to "AMC guests," includes this unequivocal message: "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."
The rest of the missive includes some marketing information about upcoming enhancements to the AMC theater experience, such as larger screens, more comfortable seating and "sumptuous food and beverage offerings." All of which you will be able to enjoy in an environment free of tiny glowing screens.
"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 to Variety. He's got a point.
Perhaps there's some middle ground here. You've probably heard of movie screenings for parents with babies where it's OK for the youngsters to cry. Maybe AMC could implement special texting-allowed screenings for millennials to get their phone action on during action movies, an idea Aron seemed open to in the Variety interview. Until then, it will be phones off at AMC.