Cellphone Use and Texting in Movie Theatres–Possible Consequences.

(1 PM – promoted by TheMomCat)

This week, I’m going to write about something completely different than what I’ve written about in previous Thursday Open Thoughts Threads here on firefly-dreaming, but it’s something that affects pretty much every moviegoer (myself included) who’d much rather view movies on a great big, wide screen from RM Projectors, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low, among other people, whether one knows them or not; cellphone use and texting. This is a practice that, whether or not the offender’s cellphone is on “silent” or vibration, is offensive and distracting to other nearby movie theatre goers, because the light on the cellphone, although it’s quite small, is also quite bright, and somewhat blinding and distracting.

Although this problem is especially acute in the great big multiplex cinemas that dot the highways and byways of the United States, it seems to be considerably less of a problem in the movie theatres that show better-quality movies. This is not to say that people don’t ever text or use their cellphones in these particular movie theatres, but, from my own personal experience with texters/cellphone users in such theatres, just politely and matter-of-factly asking the offending person to please stop is enough to produce results. Yet, I’ve also read/heard of other, nastier results in the multiplex, antiseptic-looking cinemas that show junkier movies, where parents either drop their kids off when they can’t find a sitter, or want to get the kids our of their hair for awhile, or where people, including the offenders just simply don’t care. One woman I read/heard about who attended a movie in one of these multiplex theatres and asked a person to stop texting and using their cellphone not only got a huge bucket of popcorn dumped on her head, but also woke up in a hospital emergency room! Another person I read about was actually shot in a movie theatre for speaking up against an offending cellphone user/ texting individual. As it turned out, however, both of the people involved in this particular altercation knew each other, and had an ongoing vendetta between them.

There’s one movie theater, however, called the Alamo Draft House, in Austin, TX, which has established a really hard and fast rule against texting and cellphone use in the movie theatre: An offender will be warned twice, and, on the third warning, s/he will be kicked out of the movie theatre, with no refunding of their money. Frankly, I really wish that more movie theatres would follow suit, because cell phone use and texting really are the kinds of things that drive many, many people away from the movie theatres. There was an incident in this particular theatre where a young woman who’d been warned twice about not texting in the theatre, refused to comply, and, on the third warning, she was kicked out of the theatre, with no refund of her money. The woman left an angry, uncensored voicemail of her opinion that is sprinkled with expletives, which, imho, is rather enjoyable. Here it is:


My take on it is, that, no matter what kind of problems that this woman is going through, there’s no excuse for violating the rules of the theatre, and being abusive to the staff who asked her to stop texting. The scene she made was laughable, and she doesn’t deserve sympathy, because she was clearly violating the rights of other people who’d also paid their money to view the movie without being disturbed and distracted by a bright and blinding cellphone light.

Frankly, I wish more movie theatres would make a hard-and-fast rule like that against texting and cellphone use in the movie theatre…and stick to them. It’s evident that a lot of other customers in the theatre get irritated by people spending time on their phones instead of watching the film. This can encourage some people to avoid theatres, which is not good for small theatres. A lot of smaller theatres struggle financially due to the lack of people who actually attend them these days. With more people spending time on their phones, it’s likely their audiences will decrease further. If this happens, theatres will have to find other ways to bring in more money. That could be through running their own on-screen ads, bringing in more money for themselves, instead of for agencies. To do this, the theatres would just have to invest in some DCP software. Whilst that’s a good way for them to make more money, hopefully they’ll start taking the mobile phone issue more seriously before they lose all of their audiences.

While it’s true that unacceptable behavior in a movie theater has always gone on, the sense of entitlement among many of today’s young kids and adults alike has become far worse, and the advent of cellphones and texting has taken unacceptable behaviors in movie theaters to newer, more intense, and worse levels. When I go to a movie theatre to see a movie, I want to get my money’s worth—and not be distracted by a cellphone user or texting person in front of me.

If someone has to use their cellphone due to an emergency or whatever, for g*d’s sake, they should leave the movie theatre and go out in the lobby in order to do it. Imho, the many, many people who just accept this kind of lousy, boorish behavior as the norm in everyday life, and yet don’t go to movie theatres because of it are just simply giving into defeat, for nothing. If enough people stood up to people like that woman who was inconsiderate enough to use her cellphone and text in the theatre, it might very well bring back many people to the movie theatres who’ve been staying away because of people who are rudely texting and using their cellphones, and make moviegoing more pleasant for everybody involved.

Has anybody here been to a movie theatre and had trouble with someone near you or in front of you texting? What do you all think? I’m just curious, because i’d love some feedback from you all on this.


    • mplo on June 23, 2011 at 17:03
    • mplo on June 23, 2011 at 17:08

    The woman had been warned twice by the theatre staff to stop texting or leave the movie theater.  When the young woman refused to leave, the theater manager ultimately kicked her out.  Imho, no matter what her problem(s) are, if she has any, it doesn’t excuse her acting like a total douchebag and spoiling the movie for other people around her.  More to the point, when the woman said she was using her cellphone as a flashlight to find her seat, it’s quite obvious that she was lying, for two reasons:  

    A)  Movie theatres have lights that’re on low, but enable one to find their way back to his or her seat if s/he must leave momentarily for whatever reason.  

    B) The woman had been caught texting on her cellphone beforehand and had been warned about it….twice!

    C)  The  woman was not a preschool, elementary, or even a high school kid.  She was an adult (a college graduate with a job), and somebody that age, imho, should not need to be warned twice, or better still, at all, about rudely texting in the movie theatre and distracting other moviegoers with her small, but blindingly bright cellphone light.  She behaved like a spoiled brat who not only deserved to be kicked out, but deserved no refund of her money, either.

    It would’ve been one thing if the woman had been treated unjustly by the theatre staff, something went wrong during the film, either with the film itself, with equipment in the theatre, or, for some reason, a fire or whatever had broken out.  Then, she’d have had every right to be pissed off about things, and she would’ve  been entitled to a refund of her money, or the right to use her ticket as a voucher for another movie, or the same movie for another date.  However, this was not the case, the woman acted like a self-centered, spoiled brat, and she deserved to be thrown out on her butt for totally violating the “no texting and no cellphone use” rule, and for violating the rights of other people around her.  That’s my take on it.

    Good for the Alamo Draft House in Austin for implementing the rule of not texting or being kicked out without a refund of one’s money if they violate that rule.  Hey!  I wish the theatres here in the Bay State and  more theatres here the United States generally, would implement that rule!

    I hope an Alamo Draft House comes to Boston!

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