Recently, we started a discussion on Freshly Popped about texting and engaging in social media while in a movie theater.
The conversation started after the market research firm Penn Schoen Berland, on behalf of The Hollywood Reporter, conducted a study on the influence social media such as Facebook and Twitter has on the selections we make as entertainment consumers. As part of their findings, Penn Schoen Berland discovered that the majority of 18-34-year-olds polled “believe using social media while watching a movie in a theater would add to their experience, and nearly half would be interested in going to theaters that allowed texting and web surfing.”
We asked you what you thought. Long story short? You hate the idea.
But so many of our valued readers weighed in with insightful, passionate responses that we wanted to share a few, as they truly reflect how theatergoers feel about disruptions in their movie-going experience … and how upset they’d be if their local theater tried to implement social media as part of their policy.
“The day my local theaters start allowing this to happen will be the day I no longer go to the theater,” Swampgirl posted. “And after 40 + years of being a true movie fan, it will be a sad day.”
Craig Norborg echoes that sentiment, stating, “That would be the end to me going to movies, and I go to a ton of them!! At that point I would get a better TV so I could watch them at home instead.”
Brettallenjones posted, “With the price of a movie ticket these days, there is absolutely no reason a cell phone should be on in a theater. Most movies last for 2-3 hours. If you plan on attending a movie, you should expect to spend 2-3 hours without a cell phone. Plain and simple. Messages will be left if they are important, and if there are any real emergencies, most people will come directly to the theater to get you if they know you are there. If you are expecting an emergency, you should not be attending a movie.”
And egcola adds, “I go to the movie theater as a sort of escape. As soon as the previews begin, my phone goes on silent and stays in my pocket until the credits roll. I can't stand people who even turn on their phones for a second while the movie is running - the bright light distracts me and I lose that feeling that I like getting in the theater of ‘being part of the movie.’ … I personally would NEVER go to a theater that allows phone use during a movie; it's only 2 hours on average, it should be easy enough to just leave it be for that time.”
Only babadavis1 came up with an alternative, posting, “Maybe theatres can split the difference. Allow one show per evening as a 'Facebook friendly' movie, and make it clear that the particular show will allow texting/ tweeting/ whatever. Other shows would clearly be marked for this not to be allowed. Theatres also have to worry about videoing during movies, so it would have to be made clear that this is a no-no as well. I also hate seeing texting during movies, but there are obviously enough people who like it, and it could make for an entirely different movie experience for those who do want it.”
Sounds reasonable, and it might be the direction major theater chains begin to head as social media’s influence spreads. But on the poll we included with our original story, 94.5% of voters said texting should not be allowed in theaters.
Keep the discussion going as we head out this weekend to see Mirror Mirror or Wrath of the Titans. And be sure to tell us if anyone texts during your screenings! It might be a practice to which we’ll one day have to grow accustomed.