Harkins Theatres wants to ban texting in their theatres. I applaud them! The only thing more annoying than long lines to get cold popcorn (not at Harkins, of course) is a bunch of bright cell screens distracting you from the movie you just took out a second mortgage to watch. If these people leave their ringers on…forget it!
(Courtesy of Sonu Munshi – Arizona Republic)
You may identify with this one. You pay your $10 to forget about the world outside and enjoy a movie. But instead of the bright lights of the silver screen and the crackle of munching popcorn, it’s the guy or gal sitting next to you with a Blackberry screen flickering that’s got all your fuming attention.
Officials at Harkins Theatres hope to gently steer patrons away from what has become an all-too-common practice. The Scottsdale-based chain is accelerating a campaign against texting during movies.
The campaign includes replacing promotions of coming attractions in poster cases with “No Texting During Movie” signs. The Arrowhead Harkins near Bell Road and Loop 101 had one inside the lobby this week. More are expected the weekend of Sept. 24.
Harkins’ nationwide campaign will run through Christmas.
“We’re asking that moviegoers have respect for other guests around them,” Harkins spokesman Bryan Laurel said.
The chain has heard from “plenty of people” whose moviegoing experience was ruined by texters, he said.
“People feel they aren’t disturbing others but someone getting on Facebook or Twitter, that quick burst of light can be distracting,” Laurel said. “You wouldn’t text in church or in an important meeting, and we’re trying to create some social rules here, too.”
Outside the Arrowhead Harkins, Peoria seniors Merrill and Pat Harlan smiled aplenty when asked for their thoughts about the campaign.
“Texting is irritating,” Merrill said. Holly Gibson, 32 of Glendale, and step-daughter Elizabeth Hampton, 12, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s so rude,” Elizabeth said. She said classmates text a lot at school and she acknowledged she loves to text too, but there are lines. “Not when you’re watching a movie,” she said.
Not everyone’s sold on what others think is a noble cause.
“I mean, c’mon,” said Goodyear resident Cherryl Hardy. “You don’t want the baby to cry or someone talking loudly on their cellphone, but a cellphone light shouldn’t bother anyone.”
Hardy said she’d hardly call herself the texting type, but she wouldn’t be offended if anyone sitting nearby did so as she watched a movie.
“Freedom of speech, isn’t it?” Hardy said.
Still, other Arizona theater chains try to keep texting at bay.
“We have proactive programs as well as security guards and ushers who patrol our theaters and enforce behavior policies such as cellphone use, talking during movies and loitering,” AMC Entertainment spokesman Justin Scott said.
UltraStar Cinemas manager Hope Cunningham said onscreen ads ask guests to switch off phones and refrain from texting during movies.
Harkins’ Laurel hopes moviegoers embrace the campaign’s spirit.
“It’s like every time new technologies emerge, social rules need to be established,” Laurel said.