16 March, 2006

Theatres Get it Wrong, Again

Theaters may ask to jam cell phones

Movie theater owners faced with falling attendance are considering asking federal authorities for permission to jam cell phone reception in an attempt to stop annoying conversations during films, the head of the industry's trade group said on Tuesday.

Industry leaders at the ShoWest conference for theater owners want to find ways to win back crowds.

"I don't know what's going on with consumers that they have to talk on phones in the middle of theaters," John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, told the ShoWest conference in Las Vegas.

Admittedly, people talking on their cellphones during a movie is pretty damn annoying. However, how much does this really happen? Is it really the epidemic the theatre owners want you to believe? I certainly don't go to all that many movies anymore, but when I do go, it's rare that someone starts up a phone conversation. Oddly enough, people have become, generally, polite enough to turn off their phones during movies. Or at least leave the auditorium to talk. And for those few who don't, you'd be amazed at how well turning to them and shouting "would you mind taking that outside?!" motivates them to not do it.

I know I'm going to repeat a lot of people, but it's not the cellphones that are keeping people away from the theatres. It's the crappy movies. Actors who suck, yet get rewarded with even more money to be in even crappier movies. The questionable remake of a movie that we didn't even know we liked so much we needed to see it all over again, this time starring the flavor-of-the-month. The sequel to a hugely successful film that attempts to become a franchise, and not telling more of the story that needs to be told. It's the overpriced tickets. It's the 30 minutes of advertising before a movie. The 20 minutes of trailers (for more crappy movies.) The tiny auditoriums with itty-bitty screens.

These are your problems. Fix them, and maybe people will start going out to see movies again.

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