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We might let people text during movies, says theater chain boss

Technically Incorrect: The CEO of AMC theaters says you just can't stop millennials from texting.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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This is the modern world?

Ecao Productions/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Technology always wins.

You know that, don't you?

It might therefore be painful for some of you to hear that it may soon be fine and dandy to text in a movie theater.

Yes, I know that some people find it annoying when a malodorous, randomly coiffed human is texting during a movie. It's even worse if he has his feet perched on the chair in front of him.

Alas, this soon might be an entirely approved activity. Adam Aron, CEO of theater chain owner AMC Entertainment, is considering it.

"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.' You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone," Aron told told Variety this week. "That's not how they live their life."

The mere notion that you can't prevent certain members of society from being annoying is troubling for our polity. Might it soon be OK to shout at children in strollers?

Aron, though, is aware the idea will upset some. He said it's possible certain sections of theaters would be reserved for texters.

"What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting-friendly," he added.

On Thursday, an AMC Theatres spokesman downplayed the possibility, saying the chain has "no specific time frame as to when we might introduce such a test, if ever."

"While we recognize that there is a growing population that is continuously connected to their phones, above all we also remain extremely sensitive that the overwhelming majority of our current audience does not want texting to disrupt their experience," the spokesman said. "We would only introduce a concept like this when we are totally confident that we can fully satisfy the desires of our current guests."

Texting in movies has upset some to unreasonable degrees. In Florida, a man was shot dead by a retired police officer who allegedly didn't take kindly to his texting.

There is a certain justice in placing texters in their own space. It's not dissimilar to those utterly stinky smoking rooms you see in some airports.

Of course, some theaters might decide to market themselves as non-texting theaters. Indeed, the Alamo Drafthouse is famous for shaming those who text in its theaters. In one case, it even turned an annoyed call from a texter into a glorious PSA.

A movie theater is, after all, perhaps the sole remaining single-screen experience. Isn't that worth preserving?

AMC itself hasn't always been pro-technology. A couple of years ago, it detained a moviegoer who wore Google Glass to see a Jack Ryan movie.

The reason, quite naturally, was fear of recording the movie. Will it be so different with allowing phones?

Updated, 11 a.m. PT: Added comments from AMC Theatres.