Movie theaters are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to mobile phone use during movie screenings. Some, like the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, has banned texting — If they catch you doing it, you’re sent walking. But Cinemark, one of the largest theater chains in the nation, is going about it a different route: They’re rewarding those who don’t text by sending them coupons. It’s all explained after the jump.
Deadline has the complete rundown, but the no-texting perk goes like this: Users download a Cinemark app that will monitor if the user texts or not during a movie. If the user doesn’t text, then he or she will be rewarded with digital coupons. But how Cinemark goes about it worries me, because they’re basically promoting phone use during a movie in a roundabout way.
Before a film starts, Cinemark will flash a message on the movie screen urging customers to launch CineMode. The app will dim the smartphone’s screen and ask users to turn the volume off so incoming calls only cause the phone to vibrate. Customers must stay in CineMode throughout the film. If they do, then the company says it will automatically send a coupon to be stored in the app’s Rewards section.
Whatever happened to people just turning their phones off before stepping into a theater? How hard is that? With this system, people are basically being rewarded not to be jerks. It’s like thanking a guy for not cutting you in traffic off even though he totally could have.
Phones in theaters? I say ban them all. OK, maybe not ban, but if someone is caught fiddling with their phone while in a darkened theater, they should be asked to leave with no refund. People know better, but the ones who ruin things for everyone else have an entitled mentality that “Well, I paid $12 for this damn ticket to see this movie, you bet I’m going to do what I want with my own phone! I’m paying to be here!” I’ve heard that argument before, many times, and it makes my blood boil. There are still rules based on common courtesy that everyone should follow. Plus, if you value your $12 so much, why would you fork over the cash just so you can text in the dark?
Hey… Maybe I’m onto a new business venture here.