The movie theater protocol wars are heating up.
The Alamo Drafthouse has long (and famously) been an advocate of having a talk-free and, in the era of smart phones, text and Twitter-free, zone. They’ve had hilarious movie intros for years, most famously one that use an angry voicemail from an audience member ejected for texting. See that video below (warning: cuss words).
Last month an article was posted on TheWrap.com suggesting maybe allowing texting and Tweeting would not be a horrible development.
Drafthouse CEO and co-founder Tim League, the most visible national advocate for combatting rude behavior in theaters, responded with this blog post.
In the post he eloquently explains why it should not be allowed. Read the full post to get all the details, but his main points were that: 1) "Texting is rude to the film creators." 2) "The notion that all teenagers and twenty-somethings can’t sit two hours without texting is condescending." 3) "Texting is rude to everyone around you."
He concluded with, "Texting and talking can not be allowed in movie theaters. Our spaces are sacred spaces for movie fans."
This week a guy named Hunter Walk, a man with more than 44,000 Twitter followers who describes himself as working with a Seed Stage Venture Fund for the Bottom Up Economy, wrote a blog post saying that it’s time to reinvent the moviegoing experience by adding wi-fi, low lights, electrical outlets and generally promoting a second-screen experience.
His rationale: "Increasingly I wanted my media experiences plugged in and with the ability to multitask. Look up the cast list online, tweet out a comment, talk to others while watching or just work on something else while Superman played in the background."
The post led to hundreds of comments, many negative, which Walk responded to with his rationale/defense blog post here.
Things took an interesting and wonderful turn last night when Austinite David Delgado Tweeted that Tim League should consider fighting Walk in one of Fantastic Fest’s celebrated Fantastic Debates, oral arguments that give way to actual boxing in a ring with gloves and headgear.
I seconded that, to which Walk jokingly wrote, ""First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you all watch Ghostbusters together w WiFi."
Tim League apparently saw Delgado’s Tweet, because last night, the Alamo boss Tweeted at Austinite J.C. DeLeon that he is ready to don the gloves. League’s Tweet:
"I hereby throw the gauntlet. I’ll fight him. @JCDeleon1"
So, it looks like it is on. I wonder if Walk will accept the challenge.
The debates take many forms. Sometimes they are just fun and games (see: the Zellner brothers) and sometimes they get really ugly (see: film critic Todd Brown and filmmaker Jon Ford). I have a feeling League will spend some time in the gym getting ready for this one, should it go down.