As you may have heard, AMC Theaters recently mulled over the possibility of allowing texting in certain screenings. Online outrage quickly followed, with no less an authority than Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League penning an open letter to AMC pointing out why this is a bad idea. It worked: AMC backpedaled on the plan, and everyone went home happy.
Following that exchange, League appeared on CNBC today to discuss the future of movie theaters and his support of Bernie Sanders.
He calls the idea that theaters in general and Alamo Drafthouse in particular are directly competing with Netflix and other streaming sites a “red herring argument,” saying that his company is “in the business of entertaining people when they get out of the house…As long as we can make cinema a compelling case for competing against bars or restaurants or what have you, I think we’re in great shape.” After being asked two more variations on the competing-with-Netflix question, the texting issue is brought up.
Alamo Drafthouse theaters are well-known (and, in most moviegoing circles) celebrated for their strident anti-phone policy; those who dare violate it run the risk of being ejected from their screening. “We enforce it,” League says of the rule. “We’re very rigorous about it, and I would like to see the entire industry be rigorous about it, because I believe, regardless of your age, a true cinephile wants to get lost in the story. And that’s what going to the cinema is all about.”