Regal Entertainment Group CEO Amy Miles told attendees at a lively panel on Wednesday (25) that the exhibitor was considering allowing youngster to use their mobile phones during certain films as a way of enticing them to visit theatres more often.
Miles did not elaborate but her comments drew a passionate response from Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League, whose staff famously ejected a customer from a venue in Austin, Texas, last year for texting during a film.
“Over my dead body will I introduce texting into the movie theatres,” League said, drawing whoops of glee from attendees. “That’s the scourge of our industry and it’s our job to understand that this is a sacred space and we have to teach manners to young kids as well.”
What happened next drew an even bigger laugh as Sony Pictures Entertainment vice-chairman Jeff Blake leaned in and said, “ I mean Tim, you don’t mind giving them a beer.”
Earlier League explained how patrons could buy a beer in his theatres for less than the price of a soda, which he felt was overpriced across the industry.
Panellists including IMAX Corporation filmed entertainment chairman and president Greg Foster and 21 Jump Street and Fast Five producer Neil Moritz agreed that good content would continue to attract audiences old and young.
Regal’s Miles spoke about the Open Road distribution partnership with AMC and described it as an opportunity to get mid-sized films into theatres that along with alternative content provided a supplement to “mainstay” programming like The Amazing Spider-Man.