What would Joni Mitchell say we will miss about the movie theater experience when it’s gone? How about a dark theater without the distraction of bright cell phone screens popping up? You might think that everyone would want that. And, you’d be wrong.
There was a lot of noise back in April 2016 when AMC Theater CEO Adam Aron suggested in a Variety Magazine interview that they might allow texting in theaters. Quickly AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan, responded to the backlash and announced that there was no specific timeframe for a test that would allow texting in the dark.
No texting in a dark theater sounds like a good standard to uphold. In a Rolling Stone online article from October 2013 Alamo Drafthouse Theater CEO Tim League said, “Over my dead body will I introduce texting into the movie theater…it’s our job to understand that this is a sacred space and we have to teach manners.”
Not everyone sees the movie theater as a sacred space. Last year, when the AMC story went viral, one opinionist, Amber Jamieson, from The Guardian suggested that “Going to the movie theater doesn’t have to be like a visit to a holy temple…Allowing cellphones-in certain screenings, in certain movies-is just another reimagining of what a cinema experience can be.”
The cinema experience is definitely being challenged to reinvent itself in a way that will bring back the pre-streaming level of audience attendance. Change is inevitable and innovation seems like the right next step to boost the movie theater business model. Just as Joni Mitchell predicted, there has been a lot of paving paradise and putting up parking lots over the past century. With all the tech advancement and innovation, let’s not wait until something is gone before we know what we’ve got.
Originally published at medium.com