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No Small Screens: AMC Hits Backspace on Texting-at-Movies Idea

by Martha C. White /
The District at Tustin Legacy, an Orange County shopping and entertainment destination features Access 360 Media's Mallvision Network, a blend of relevant lifestyle, short-form content and ad messages targeting mall consumers. In this photo, a young boy strolls around the fountain in front of the AMC Theaters at The District. BRANIMIR KVARTUC / AP IMAGES FOR ACESS 360 MEDIA

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Talk about big-screen drama: Just two days after AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron floated the idea of letting moviegoers in some theaters keep pecking away at their phones after the house lights went down, a groundswell of opposition prompted the movie theater chain to back down from the idea.

“We have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want,” Aron said in a statement issued Friday, pledging that AMC theaters won’t permit texting — “Not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future.”

Aron brought up texting in a Variety interview in which the new CEO, who came to AMC from Starwood Hotels & Resorts at the beginning of the year, discussed ways to make the in-theater experience more appealing to millennial audiences.

Read More: Texting During the Movies? Fans Boo AMC Chief's Suggestion

“You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life,” he said.

Although Aron hedged his statement by saying he envisioned that only a small number auditoriums would be “texting friendly,” just the prospect inflamed moviegoers.

The response on social media was as indignant as it was immediate, with customers promising to patronize other theater chains if AMC went through with what many characterized as a misguided attempt to woo a tech-loving generation by catering to its worst impulses.

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