AMC is one of the largest cinema chains in the US and its latest decision could be a controversial one. That’s because the theatre operator is considering allowing texting in some of its cinemas, sparking outcry from film-lovers everywhere.
Speaking to Variety magazine, AMC’s chief executive Adam Aron admitted that the company needs to attract to millennials better. That’s what led him to this polarising plan.
He told Variety magazine: “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.”
Despite that admission, Adam also doesn’t want to disturb regular cinema-goers who would rather enjoy the film in peace. That’s why he believes that cinema chains across the world should find a solution to this problem that works for everyone.
While AMC cinemas is not a major operator in the UK, with Odeon, Cineworld and Vue dominating, it operates around 400 cinemas in the US with more than 5,000 screens. It does however have one location in the UK – Manchester.
Cinemas are struggling to stay relevant in this technologically advanced world. While some believe the solution would be a day-and-date movie streaming service like Screening Room, which AMC reportedly backs, others believe that cinemas need to incentivise people to come along.
In the UK that means offering a more affordable option with Cineworld’s Unlimited and Odeon’s Limitless subscription services; which allow customers to watch as many films as they want for one monthly fee. There are also other incentives such as two for one tickets with Meerkat Movies and cheaper tickets for older films.
“We need to reshape our product in some concrete ways so that millennials go to movie theatres with the same degree of intensity as baby boomers went to movie theatres throughout their lives,” Adam admitted.
“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.”
But he noted: “Today’s movie-goer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.
“What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting-friendly.”
Elaborating on comments on Twitter, he wrote: “If ever, we only would pursue in a way we’d be totally confident all our guests will fully enjoy movie-going experience.”
Update: AMC has since revealed that it will not be going forward with the plans, following huge pressure from the online community.