Anyone who’s watched movie previews knows that silence is golden, and according to the Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League, so is freedom from texting.
The founder and CEO of the Texas-based cinema chain published an open letter Thursday criticizing an idea from the head of AMC Entertainment to allow texting in designated theaters to attract millennial audiences.
“You can only be immersed in a story if you are focused on it,” League says in the letter. “If while watching a film you are intermittently checking your email, posting on social media, chatting with friends, etc., there is no way you are fully engaged in the story on screen. I find that to be disrespectful to the creators, those who make the very existence of cinema possible.”
League’s message came in response to an interview in which Adam Aron, the recently installed head of AMC, said he was open to setting aside some theaters to be texting-friendly.
“You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone,” Aron told Variety on Wednesday. “That’s not how they live their life.” But, he added, “We’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences.”
League also objected to the implication that millennials are the only ones tied to their phones. “This isn’t just a millennial behavior, it is a global attention span epidemic,” he says. “Regardless of your age, turning off your phone and focusing on a good movie is much-needed therapy.”
League’s passionate stance hardly comes as a surprise, as the Alamo regularly enlists stars to create splashy anti-texting PSAs.
Read League’s full statement on the Alamo website.