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Clash Of The Screens: Should Movie Theaters Allow Texting? AMC Says Maybe

Should texting be allowed at some movie screenings?
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Should texting be allowed at some movie screenings?

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday with a response from AMC.

Texting at the movies is usually annoying and usually banned. But the CEO of the giant movie theater chain AMC says maybe it's time to rethink that.

AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron floated a trial balloon in an interview with Variety at CinemaCon, a film industry trade convention, saying the chain has considered adding showings where using your cellphone will be allowed.

The reason?

"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 told Variety. "You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That's not how they live their life."

Predictably, this caused quite a bit of outrage on social media, including on AMC's Facebook page. A few hours after Variety posted that interview online, Aron had evidently received enough blowback that he took to Twitter to assure everyone that the company knew the idea wouldn't appeal to most moviegoers:

On Friday, AMC moved to completely quash the outcry, saying that texting won't be the new thing at its movie theaters any time soon: "This is an idea that we have relegated to the cutting room floor."

Should texting somehow be allowed at some movie screenings? Can it be relegated to the back rows? Do 22-year-olds really want to keep texting at the movies?

NPR's pop culture blogger Linda Holmes and movie critic Bob Mondello weighed in. Bob adopted the curmudgeon role; Linda talked him down from the ledge. Give them a listen and tell us what you think in the comments below or on Twitter.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.