Sound Off: Should Movie Theaters Be Able to Silence Your Phones for You?


When you ask someone for their biggest movie theater pet peeve, you’ll almost always get a phone-related answer. Either someone is talking on their phone and interrupting the screening, or they’re busy texting on their phone throughout the entire movie. Sometimes you get stuck sitting next to a person who won’t stop checking the time on their phone, prompting an annoying blue light to continually shatter your concentration. Whatever the case may be, we can all agree that phones have become a bit of a problem in movie theaters, and so far there isn’t a lot being done about it.

Sure, we’re told all the time to silence our cell phones, quite often in very humorous ways (thanks Alamo Drafthouse), but is that enough? Should theaters be allowed to take extra measures and – dare I say – silence your phones for you? Well, believe it or not, but we may be heading in that direction.

According to reports from Engadget (via /Film), Apple has been awarded a patent for geo-fencing, which would allow, say, a movie theater to enforce certain policies as soon as your wireless device enters a location. This could involve your phone automatically turning off or switching to silence mode, as well as your camera being disabled. Of course it wouldn’t just be for movie theaters – obviously this sort of technology could be applied in a number of places (like airplanes and schools). However it does make you wonder whether theaters will tap into this sort of technology in order to provide folks with a more enjoyable, phone-free experience.

I say go for it. Sure, it certainly sounds a little too Big Brother-ish on paper, but you have to admit that this has become a problem that’s hard to fix without causing additional distractions. And if we’re paying for these screenings, then why shouldn’t we demand the very best conditions for an enjoyable and entertaining movie-watching experience?

I want to know what you think, too. Would you have a problem with movie theaters automatically shutting off or blocking your phone once inside, or do you welcome those changes?

Sound Off: Should Movie Theaters Be Able to Silence Your Phones for You?

Follow along on Twitter @ErikDavis and @Fandango

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