Over the years, movie theater announcements have evolved from polite requests for verbal silence to firm recommendations for turning off cell phones, but like all rules, they are not always observed or enforced. However, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a movie chain based in Austin, Texas, recently kicked a customer out of one of their theaters for texting, a behavior prohibited by the theater owners and communicated to the audience with a short video prior to each film. After the customer left a furious message on the company voicemail, Alamo Drafthouse used the irate recording in an advertisement on Youtube, which drew 4.4 million views and attention from many talk shows and websites. The use of a customer’s voice without his or her permission is perfectly legal, so long as the recording is accurate, but the incident raises questions about the potential impact of what we say or do publicly. Is it important to observe a certain etiquette with cell phones in movie theaters and other places? And do people feel entitled to talk or text on their cell phones, wherever they feel like it? Join Patt for a discussion with the head of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and weigh in with your questions and comments.
Tim League, owner, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Patrick Corcoran, California operations chief, National Association of Theater Owners