Cell Phones in movie theaters – too rude?

Credit – Alamo Drafthouse Theater blog

A movie blogger called Alex Billington, who writes for FirstShowing.net, was so incensed by constant cell phone texting and emailing during a screening for press and film industry members that he finally snapped and rang 911. Unsurprisingly, the emergency responder didn’t immediately dispatch a SWAT team to quell the unruly rabble but instead only laughed. Mr. Billington later apologized for his misuse of the emergency service via Twitter. <source>

This isn’t the first time someone in the public eye has reacted to this kind of behavior. Kevin Williamson, writer for the National Review, was so annoyed by a woman’s incessant texting during a musical theater performance he eventually snatched her cell phone from her and hurled it across the theater. Sadly, after a complaint from the woman in question to management, Mr. Williamson was ejected from the theater. <source>

Just to add more fuel to fire; here is a story of one woman who was ejected from the Alamo Drafthouse Theater for using her cellphone: She texted. We kicked her out. The woman submitted a complaint by… what else… voice mail, and the Alamo Drafthouse Theater management recorded the call and turned it into a clever PSA (Public Service Announcement) video:

**Note: This is the censored version but you should be aware that it contains elements which some may find offensive.

It’s not all one way traffic though, there are those among us who not only condone the use of mobile devices in cinemas but actually advocate it. Former Google man Hunter Walk caused much debate when he proposed that theaters should offer special zones for people like him who cannot bear to be separated from their superior technological experience… “Increasingly I wanted my media experiences plugged in and with the ability to multitask. Look up the cast list online, tweet out a comment, talk to others while watching or just work on something else while Superman played in the background.” <source>

One notable response to Mr. Walk’s blog post came from actor Elijah Wood who tweeted… “You can have that experience in the comfort of your home. A ludicrous idea to create a passive viewing experience at a theater.

My dear Elijah – Perhaps you haven’t noticed but the ludicrous are outnumbering us more and more with every passing day.

I haven’t been to the cinema for ages myself. To be honest, there hasn’t been a movie released for ages which seemed good enough to motivate me into visiting a cinema. However, if this is the trend, for more and more people to ignore common courtesy through incessant use of cell phones in cinemas, I doubt I’ll be visiting any time soon.

Should people be permitted to use cell phones and other mobile device in cinemas and theaters? I say a definite no. In fact, I find it incomprehensible that anyone should consider using a cell phone or similar in a cinema or theater as acceptable behavior…  what do you think?

2 thoughts on “Cell Phones in movie theaters – too rude?”

  1. I’ll concede it is easy to forget to turn off your cell phone before going into a theatre, so I give them 1 “freebie”. Anyone rude enough to make or receive multiple phone calls from a theatre, will not respond to polite requests to SHUT THE ***** UP.

    I want to enjoy my movie without their interruptions so I am more than happy to make a sacrificial offering to the pagan god of silence. I anoint the offender by “accidentally” spilling my extra large drink on them. oops … (so NOT sorry) Naturally they have to leave to clean up.

    The enjoyment is worth the extra “peace and quiet surcharge”.

  2. Most theaters play a segment asking that phones be turned off before the show starts – it’s a common courtesy to those who paid good money for the immersive experience that only a theater can provide. Phone use during the show is as obnoxious as kicking a seatback or talking. Hats off to Alamo Drafthouse!

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