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AMC retreats from plan to allow texting in theaters

By Ryan Faughnder Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – Never mind, phone addicts. Following a public outcry, AMC Entertainment says it will not experiment after all with theaters that allow texting.

“There will be no texting allowed in any of the auditoriums at AMC Theatres,” said AMC chief executive Adam Aron in a statement Friday. “Not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future.”

The reversal comes just two days after Aron told the Los Angeles Times that the company may consider introducing texting-friendly theaters in order to better serve device-obsessed millennials.

At the CinemaCon film business confab in Las Vegas, Aron compared the prohibition on texting to telling young people to cut their arms off.

The idea prompted a swift backlash on social media. Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League also weighed in, saying special auditoriums for texting could “seriously hurt” the cinema industry.

Now AMC, which is poised to become the world’s largest theater operator if its proposed acquisition of Carmike Cinemas is approved, has backtracked on the concept it floated, citing the response from consumers.

“In this age of social media, we get feedback from you almost instantaneously and as such, we are constantly listening,” Aron said. “Accordingly, just as instantaneously, this is an idea that we have relegated to the cutting room floor.

“Instead,” he added, “we’ll focus on our other ideas to delight and entertain you. In the next few years, we intend to invest more than $1 billion to continuously enhance our theaters and systems.”

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