LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Oops. The idea lasted about as long as a Snapchat text: the head of AMC Theatres mulled openly about creating texting-friendly movie theatres to appeal to smartphone-addicted youngsters. Two days later, after a backlash on social media, the company says it’s leaving the idea on “the cutting room floor.”
Adam Aron, who became CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings in December, told Variety magazine for a story Wednesday that the company would consider allowing cellphone use in some theatres to appeal to millennials.
“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,” he said.
That’s when the Twitter-verse unleashed a torrent of criticism on the plan.
“AMC Theatres want to allow texting in movie theatres. In other news, I’ll never go to AMC Theatres ever again,” tweeted Fox News reporter Jake Hamilton.
Blogger Perez Hilton tweeted the plan made sense “because everything is the worst.”
Lucasfilm story executive Pablo Hidalgo mulled a day when he “brings enormous durian fruit to AMC theatre; live-tweets and periscopes self eating it while movie plays.”
Before the spasmic social media outrage continued much longer, AMC released a statement from Aron early Friday saying he had “instantaneously” reversed his thinking.
“With your advice in hand, there will be NO TEXTING ALLOWED in any of the auditoriums at AMC Theatres. Not today, not tomorrow and not for the foreseeable future,” he said. “Unlike the many AMC advancements that you have applauded, we have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want.”
Peace was restored to the movie-going galaxy.
“I love when rational thought wins out,” tweeted Holly Overton. “Thanks @amctheatres for respecting moviegoers!”
“yay! Amc is literally the only theatre chain in my area, so I’m relieved,” tweeted Benjy Monteagudo.
And some had moved on to the next issue: the lengthy ads before a movie plays.
“OK guys we did it,” tweeted Brian Collins. “Now let’s yell at them for 3 days re: their 22 minute trailer/concession ad before the movie.”
Follow AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima at https://twitter.com/rnakashi . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/ryan-nakashima