According to a new study from The Hollywood Reporter and market research firm Penn Schoen Berland, most filmgoers think using social media while watching a movie in a theater would add to their experience. Almost half said they would like to go to theaters that allowed cell phone use during films.
In the piece, Jon Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, suggests viewers want a Choose Your Own Adventure, where moviegoers bring friends not even in the theater into the viewing experience. “Millennials want their public moviegoing experience to replicate their own private media experiences,” he said. “Having dedicated social-media-friendly seats, or even entire theaters, can make the moviegoing experience more relevant and enjoyable for them.”
The data is part of a Hollywood Reporter-comissioned study that looked at how entertainment consumers view social media.
Of course, this comes as no surprise to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, which has been fighting the widespread use of texting during movies with thoughtful PSAs. Last summer, the theater released a colorful phone call they received from a woman who was ejected after the manager received complaints about her texting.
Since then, the Drafthouse has, at designated times, encouraged cell phone use in their theaters. This weekend, the Drafthouse hosted a Hecklevision screening of the cult classic “Leprechaun,” where viewers interacted with the action on screen with, one could assume, texts like “Taste the Rainbow, thug!” and “Hi Ma!,” that were then placed on screen by the theater while the film was running.
At other times, though, the rules at the Drafthouse stand. They won’t be encouraging a Facebook powwow during “The Hunger Games” anytime soon.