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AMC Theatres will not allow texting during movies

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After reports circulated this week that AMC Theatres would consider allowing texting during movie screenings, the chain has issued a statement quashing the rumors.

The statement says in part, "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 in the foreseeable future."

Instead, AMC will focus on ways to enhance the theatre experience for moviegoers.

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Adam Aron, the CEO of AMC Entertainment, recently said that he has considered allowing texting during screenings in an effort to appeal to a larger demographic, specifically, 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,” Aron said in an interview with Variety magazine. “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their (lives).”

He later tweeted, clarifying that allowing movie-goers to text is just an idea, and if approved, may be very limited.

Aron said the company has considered making specific auditoriums "more texting friendly."

Aron, current co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and former president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, has only been head of AMC for a few months, but in that time, he's advanced the company significantly. In February, he announced plans to buy Carmike, which would solidify AMC as the world’s top movie theater chain, according to Variety.

Aron is also pushing to expand AMC’s food and dining options, develop its loyalty program and market more aggressively. 

But Aron isn't the first to consider allowing texting during movies.

Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles and Greg Foster, senior executive vice president of IMAX Corporation, both seemed open to considering allowing cellphone usage during a panel at the CinemaCon convention in 2012, Deadline reported.

"If we had a movie that appealed to a younger demographic, (like "21 Jump Street,") we could test some of these concepts (at some screens,)" Miles said. "You’re trying to figure out if there’s something you can offer in the theater that I would not find appealing but my 18-year-old son might."

"We want them to pay $12 to $14 to come into an auditorium and watch a movie. But they’ve become accustomed to controlling their own existence," said Foster, who added that without cellphones, some younger people may "feel a little handcuffed."

Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse -- a small theater chain disagreed.

“Over my dead body will I introduce texting into the movie theater,” he said. “I love the idea of playing around with a new concept. But that is the scourge of our industry. It’s our job to understand that this is a sacred space and we have to teach manners.”

League said that going to the movies should be a "magical" experience, but Miles said "one person’s opinion of magical isn’t the other’s."

Read more here.

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