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American cinema wants phone-friendly movie screenings for millennials

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Depending on which definition you buy into, I sometimes can be defined as a millennial – albeit at the tail end of the definition, where younger members of the group would consider me barely recognisable and probably something of an embarrassment. That’s cool – I’m used to that.

Still, the best test to find out whether I count or not could be to ask a bunch of true millennials exactly how they feel about the idea floated by AMC Theatres’ new CEO Adam Aron. If the suggestion makes them feel as nauseous as it makes me, well, maybe I’m one of them after all.

Speaking to Variety, Aron argued that movie screenings have to change in order that “millennials go to movie theatres with the same degree of intensity as baby boomers”.

When pushed if that involved allowing texting or mobile phone use, Aron confirmed this was a possibility arguing, “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.”

If the concept of this fills you with dread, Aron thinks you’re not in the market he’s targeting, and don’t worry: there’s a place for you too at AMC. “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.”

Given Aron was born 30 years before me, I probably lay a better claim to knowing how millennial minds work. Then again, I don’t have access to the huge amounts of market research data that being a successful businessman grants you, so I have to be careful here. It’s also possible that the advent of streaming services such as Netflix have put the cinema on an irreversible spiral towards irrelevance among future generations, and this would be as effective as adding Snapchat functionality to the original Sony Walkman.

Seriously, anyone reading this under the age of 25: phone-friendly cinema screenings are a terrible idea, right?

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Images: AdamPrzezdziek and Matthew Berggren used under Creative Commons

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