If you’ve noticed a general “TEXTING IN THEATERS?! WTF OMG MILLENNIALS IDIOCRACY IS REAL GAHH!” theme on the internet this morning, that’s because yesterday Variety published an interview with AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron in which the newly appointed head of America’s largest theater chain suggested that since kids today can’t put down their phones for more than 15 minutes without the help of an emotional support animal, AMC might soon start experimenting with texting-friendly movie theaters. Here’s the exchange in question:
Would appealing to millennials involve allowing texting or cellphone use?
Yes. 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. That’s not how they live their life.
At the same time, though, we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences. There’s a reason there are ads up there saying turn off your phone, because today’s moviegoer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.
Would you have a certain section for texting?
That’s one possibility. What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly.
Understandably, this made some readers freak the fuck out, because the vast majority of the American moviegoing public still doesn’t enjoy paying around $11 (not including snacks) to see some idiot’s Facebook feed out of the corner of their eye. They can get that much cheaper on public transportation, thanks. (Interestingly, the blowback seems to be more about how annoying phones are and less about Aron’s condescension towards young movie-goers, who he clearly sees as lobotomized phone zombies.)
The backlash was so intense, in fact, that this morning AMC sent out a series of tweets—although Snapchat would have been more effective in reaching the millennials, honestly—saying, basically, that they know this is a bad idea:
That “if ever” is pretty vague, though, so The A.V. Club reached out to AMC for comment. What we got back was a prepared statement that, while also pretty vague, reassures the public that “there is no specific timeframe as to when we might introduce such a test” and that “we also remain extremely sensitive that the overwhelming majority of our current audience does not want texting to disrupt their experience.” It goes on to say, “We would only introduce a concept like this when we are totally confident that we can fully satisfy the desires of our current guests.”
So, basically, when everyone who hates texting at movies is dead and those dumbass kids are in charge, then hell yes you’ll be able to text in an AMC theater. The polar ice caps will probably be completely melted and all the bees dead by then, though, leaving no movie theaters left to ruin in the ensuing environmental chaos. So keep complaining about texting in theaters, internet—and maybe start a tire fire in the backyard while you’re at it. Can’t be taking any chances.