Last week, eyebrows were raised by a study in The Hollywood Reporter on the way social media users interact with entertainment. …
…while 75% of all respondents said that mobile phone use in a theater “would make the experience distracting and less satisfying,” in the key 18-34 demographic, a majority were said to believe that using social media during a movie would make the experience better, while just under half said they’d be interested in going to a theater that allowed phone use during a movie.”
Remember when a speaker or a teacher asked for your “undivided attention”? I think it’s pretty obvious that if a movie can’t have you fixated for a couple of hours, that movie is worthless. So worthless, in fact, that you would rather be doing something else–shopping, dining, playing sports–anything but watching that movie. Playing about with your iPhone during the movie could be done outside the theater, but apparently the idea of annoying fellow moviegoers who’ve paid good money to see the film is secondary to assuring cell phone blabbers a comfortable “at home” experience .
IndieWire’s response sounds like a grumpy uncle who doesn’t like what’s coming but throws his hands up surrendering and practically saying, “Do what you want. I don’t care.”
Listen, we’re not advocating texting or cellphone use at the cinema — it still drives us nuts. But, we’re old, and not the customers that are being looked at to sustain multiplex chains in the years to come — it’s the kids. And they set the tone for how movies are experienced, and if they want theaters they can sit in and text and tweet, only a fool would ignore what they’re asking for. Cinema buffs will always have their arthouse altars and options to commune with cinema.
Sorry, IndieWire, but I care enough about kids not to throw them in front of garbage that won’t sustain their attention. And about cinema buffs always having the arthouse altars, don’t count on it.
But hey, to those movie theater owners who want to allow cell phone use during a movie and disrupt my viewing pleasure, I have a few demands of my own to help me feel very comfortable, just as if I were home in my living room:
1 ) Let me bring in my own food
Yeah, that’s right. Your overpriced, day-old popcorn topped with butter-flavored cancer sauce is not compatible with my sodium-restricted diet. If I’m a guest in your home and you offer me something that will lay me out in cardiac arrest, I’ll have what I brought over, thank you very much. If you won’t let me bring in outside food, have a pantry ready behind the concession area with items I can cook up in a jiffy right there on the spot. If I’m healthy, I’ll be back.
2) Let me bring in my own DVDs
If I’m at home and there’s something on TV I don’t like, I change the channel. Currently, I don’t have that option at the movies, but if the movie you’re showing is horrible, I want to be able to head up to the projection booth and slap in a DVD of something I want to watch on the big screen so I’m not wasting my time.
3) Let me do my workouts there
Some of us like to do aerobics, cycling, yoga and other workouts while watching the tube (only makes sense when you’re feeding us fatty concession foods). So clear out a few rows and lay down some mats. I want to break a good sweat, and you don’t want us getting injured.
4) Let me set up office there
Sometimes I like to have a movie running while I’m writing, so if you could please have an office work space set up somewhere in the theater that would be fantastic. It would, of course, have to have a strong working desk lamp. I’ll provide my own coffee mug.
5) Let me be able to do the “sensurround nasty” there
You know, Mr. Conglomerate Theater Owner, there are those warm, tender moments when you and your honey want to have that special time together. And nothing makes it hotter for horny couples than to inject a Blu-Ray copy of ET3: The Extra Testicle or some other hot and heavy title. Don’t worry, we can provide blankets to snuggle under so that we won’t get too distracting.
I hope the above suggestions help you out, Mr. Corporate Theater Chain Owner, otherwise you may have to consider an alternative, such as disallowing outside distractions or even becoming independent for the sake of serious movie lovers.
Oh. Well there’s a thought….