Blocking Cell Phones At Movie Theaters

I HATE HATE HATE it when some doorknob refuses to turn his/her stupid little cell phone off when they come into the movie theater. You know what I mean. The movie you’re watching is at this really tense moment… and then… you hear some idiot’s cell phone pumping out his 50 Cent In Da Club ring tone. Ghhaaa!!! There should be a law about justifiable homicide for situations like this.

Don’t get me wrong… I know sometimes people just honestly forget to turn their phones off… and I actually feel a little bad for them when it goes off and you can tell they’re totally embarassed. But then there are those people who just CHOOSE to leave it on. Frickin idiots.

You know what buddy, if your wife is 10 months pregnant and could go into labour any time now… then perhaps you’re a dick for sitting in the movie theater in the first place. Turn the phone off or go home.

Now, according to the good folks over at M&C, The National Association of Theater Owners has asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to block cell phone signals in their theaters. YES YES YES!!!

John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners ‘have to block rude behavior’ as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.

Finally!!! Someone is trying to address at least one of the problems that people have with going to the theaters. It’s a little thing… but important nonetheless. This is a fantastic idea that has been batted around before. There is absolutley NO GOOD REASON why this shouldn’t be implemented right away! Oh… but wait…

Seems that the telecommunications industry has vowed to fight against theaters from blocking cell phone signals. Surprise surprise. And how on earth can they justify that? Here’s what they had to say:

‘We`re opposed to the use of any blocking technology, because it interferes with people`s ability to use a wireless device in an emergency situation,’ CTIA spokesman Joseph Farren told the Times.

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS GUY SMOKING?!?!?! What kinda of “emergeny situation” can occur while sitting in a movie theater?!?! Guess what buddy… we as a spiecies have existed for thousands of years WITHOUT cellphones. Human civilization is not about to collapse because Billy had to leave a message that their game of Halo 2 is set for Friday at 8 that Tom will get in 2 hours instead of right frigging away.

Turn the cell signals off in theaters. I’m all for it.

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23 thoughts on “Blocking Cell Phones At Movie Theaters

  1. John Campea I’ll tell you what kind of emergency that could come up while i’m in the movies. Your Mom might need to get a hold of me if your dad is going to be home. How else am I going to be able to Tap the shit out of her.

  2. Theaters are not the only place….but its a start….I’m really tire of all

    the “me only” mineless people any more on their cell.

    Post a sign in a restraurant, store, theater or where ever…but

    most store won’t because they need the business and they don’t

    want to offend people….We’ll they are offending me….I’ll

    not shop at these shops which allow cell phone chit chat….

    Nothing worse than trying to work out at a gym when someone is

    talking about their personal problems next to you….same as the

    movies…. turn them off….

  3. Here’s a thought for people so concerended about being reachable at all times, don’t go to the theater. Perfect example: My wife has recently started a business and she is pretty much always on call during business hours, I am a huge movie fan and would see every movie in the theater if I could but since she can’t go I just wait for the DVD. It is not that difficult to just say, “You know, what if the babysitter needs to get hold of us, maybe we should skip the movie and just go to dinner and take a walk or go shopping or a nightclub. There are plenty of places where your personal life will not interfere with others. Try to realize that in a movie theater there are something like a hundred or more people trying to enjoy the theater experience, weigh that against your desire to see a film with the possibility to ruin the experience for others. I may sound like the selfish one but I promise you that when I am in a movie theater I do not ruin the night of others. Try try try to think about other people more than yourself.

  4. I respect John’s opinion 99.9% of the time, but I’m still think he isn’t getting the point with regards to cell phones in theaters.

    Cell phones are not the problem. Rude people are. I’m annoyed by “Fity Cent” ring tones when I’m in Walmart, much less the movie theater. Cellphones shouldn’t have ring tones, ring tones are rude. They should all default to “vibrate/manner” mode. But, I’m also annoyed by the by the teenagers goofing off in the theater, as I am by kids climbing the displays at Walmart.

    When I was a kid, we were kicked out of a movie for causing a disturbance, as we were kicked out of the grocery store (where we played Asteroids) for same. Most people only needed this to happen once to them, or someone they knew, and behavoir changed.

    If ushers enforced polite behavior at movie theaters as they do at live theater, in a matter of time, the behavior would change.

    Seven years ago, I didn’t have a cellphone for the babysitter to get in touch with me…but I had a pager. Ten years ago I didn’t have a pager, but I, and the babysitter, weren’t conditioned that I would be able to be contacted in an emergency. Ten years ago, my son would have been rushed to the hospital for his allergic reaction, but because I was able to be contacted…he was spared that ordeal.

    I used to go to the cinema 2-4 times a week…now go 10-12 times a year; this is also true for several people I know. The reason is that the industry treats us like crap. The movie has a 10% chance of being worth the price of admission. The cost of 1 ticket, 1 popcorn, and 1 soda is the same price (or less) than the cost of the DVD (which looks great on my 65in TV). I am forced to sit through 10-20 minutes of the same damn commercials. I could go on, but this is already at ‘rant’ status.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand it is the right of a business to refuse to allow me to enter with a cellphone. I’m just saying that it will turn away many more people than you think.

  5. “Seems to me if you’re in the against lobby, like many other people against things like that, you’re all mouth and no trousers – ie, I see plenty of complaint but very little offered by way of constructive alternatives.” – Stuart

    Not at all! I am generally indifferent and unsympathetic to this problem primarily because, unlike poor John, I live in the polite part of Canada: I can’t recall the last time I ever heard a cell phone go off in a theatre. I go to the cinema, on average, 3 times a month. I also, on average, only pay $6 or $7 CAD for a movie ticket. It’s great to be me, what a wonderful world etc.

  6. What kind of “emergency situation” can occur while sitting in a movie theater, eh? Well, there are allergic reactions, siezures, strokes, heart attacks, the list goes on and on and on. I’m sure if any of these happened to one of your family members you might understand. Would you rather be watching Aeon Flux or rushing to the hospital to see your dad on his deathbed?

    Sure, cellphones are annoying, but I’m pretty sure when Joseph Farren was talking about emergency situations he wasn’t referring to playing Halo, so stop trying to make it sound that way.

    I think I can handle a few annoying kids to know that I can be contacted if there was a real emergency situation.

  7. $20 for a movie ticket!?

    Time to leave the UK.

    And please, explain to me, how anyone is supposed to get a hold of anyone via landline? Works great when you need to call out, but we’re talking about an emergency being called in. Do you have landline jacks you can just plug into anywhere in the UK?

    Again, it’s simply a movie. The random phone call is an annoyance yes, but it’s not the end of the world. All I was asking for is a little understanding beyond our own selfish and narrow world views.

    Cell phones going off mid-movie is always poop. But there can be a valid reason. And a kid having a violent allergic reaction, etc. is reason enough for me to say don’t cut off the signal.

    I do like your point on ushers. You still may get the ring in the theater, but pretty soon, everyone knows you’ll get the boot. It’s called deterrent- and it’s a good idea.

  8. Y’know at least when we only had pagers, the people who had “emergency” situations at home could get a silent, vibrating message to call home and had leave the theatre to go use a payphone thus leaving the theatre undisturbed.

    Those days are gone now. :(

  9. my name is Billy, and i take offense to the use of the Halo metaphor, since i dont even play halo and really dont…. ww… wait..

    i have to go. my cellphone is interrupting a bittersweet death scene and i have to flee the theatre for my life before the good people of the world beat me down. joking… totally joking. you’re right, you know….

    A crying baby? i can deal with that because that’s a human thing… but cellphones have a switch that can be turned to vibrate, and there is no text message that can’t wait to be replied to until you walk OUT of a theatre room.

    bottom line, they shouldnt need this technology, as it would drive the cost of the ticket up a few cents. They should simply have a policy where if you interrupt a film for any reason whatsoever, you should be expelled from the cinema.

    what’s so hard about that?

  10. As someone point out over at Cinema Blend – Nobody removed the existance of landlines. Sometimes I think people’s perception of what’s “convenient” for them allows them carte blanche to do whatever they want, rules and everyone else be damned.

    And for your information, cellphone use in the UK is banned in almost all schools. For students and teachers.

    Seems to me if you’re in the against lobby, like many other people against things like that, you’re all mouth and no trousers – ie, I see plenty of complaint but very little offered by way of constructive alternatives.

    So here’s an alternative to jamming and rude little shits – from someone in *support* of jamming – re-employing full time ushers.

    But with theatres whining that they make little money at it is, do you think they’re going to pay a one-off payment for a jamming box or minimum wage every week for 25 ushers to police every screening of every movie?

    Plus that 5% of humanity that does cause the trouble would probably cause more disturbance in the screening arguing and antagonising the ushers than they would were they left uncowed.

    If you want me to start having some heart, YOU start paying my $20 a time to have one of my few pastimes in life CONTINUALLY ruined by some idiots with ADHD just in the 1 in 24,000,000 chance you have a drama in your life that can’t wait 90 minutes or be solved with the payphone or a call to the receptionist.

  11. Amen to the voices of reason against cell phone blocking.

    I was ecstatic when I first heard the proposal to ban cell signals in theaters. My fury boils over when some fool is answering his cell phone and conducting a conversation or someone is text messaging their pals in the middle of a movie. BUT, on further reflection, the need for a parent to get home to their kids/family in the case of an emergency, even if it’s only 1 in 1000 circumstances, makes keeping the signal worthwhile for me.

    How some heart, you bastards. It’s only a movie.

  12. Now, i love going to the movies. And, i hate when some jackass doesnt turn his phone to vibrate. I hate it even more when said jackass decides to ANSWER his phone. But, i am COMPLETELY against blocking cell phone signals.

    I hate the guy with the phone, NOT the phone. The same argument can be used in gun control… the guns dont kill anyone, its the morons using them that do.

    We live in an age of technology. I hate when some new blanket policy is created because 5% of the polulation are morons. How about this: if someones phone rings repeatedly or they answer the phone in a theater… KICK THEM OUT. Should we take away everyone’s car because SOME people drive drunk…no. Do we blame the automobile when there is a car accident? No. It makes little sense.

    And, i do feel that phones can be helpful in an emergency. What if your brother is in a car accident and is at the hospital? Now, 20 years ago that could happen too, and you would simply find out later and get to the hospital whenever. But, seeing as how we live in an ever progressing world, you find out sooner, and it might be a great help. Years ago we couldnt treat AIDS or cancer or high blood pressure, but we can now. Once again, due to the wonders of ever-advancing technology.

    Deal with the cause of the problem. The person using the phone.

    And besides… cell phones annoy people all over. Should the signal be blocked at the Mall? The Supermarket? The Library?? What about in schools? At your workplace? Anyone else see the slippery slope here?

  13. Look. One may complain all they like about annoying cell phone rings, and praise this move because it at least blocks one way for some people to be annoying pests. But to argue that no emergency could ever happen to anyone inside a theatre, or to someone they are connected outside of theatre, beyond their control is laughably absurd. Not to mention the unfortunate use of “well, human civilization can survive without it”. One could easily argue that human civilization can survive WITH it. You know?

    And in the same way that people are reluctant to attend cinemas because of such an annoyance, others may become reluctant on hearing that signals are blocked, because that is also an inconvenience, and they could just as well stay home with their big screen tv and surround system AND be able to receive calls.

    Either way it’s a gamble, IMO. Certainly this may lure in a few patrons, but with the issues of shitty films, ads all the live long day, over-priced concession stands, the very real fact that blocking signals will no doubt deter a lot of other folks (and crying babies) I am not convinced of its importance to the bottom line.

  14. During King Kong this week there was a woman sitting next to me who was compulsively checking her cell phone. About every other minute that bright phone screen was in my peripheral vision like some firefly trying to eat my ear off. I wanted to punch her in the baby maker but I was enjoying the movie too much.

  15. I heard that they had a device fitted in the Savoy Cinema here in Dublin, Ireland that would block out all mobile phone signals but they were told to remove it by the government or something because it was illegal. Strange.

  16. This won’t resolve one incident I had at a theater. Two groups of teenagers that were sitting on the opposite sides of the audience decided it would be amusing to start a ring tone war during the movie. They weren’t getting any calls mind you; one group just decided to adjust the volume (to the maximum) of his 50-cent ring tone (or whatever it was) and the other responded in kind with their ring-tone. This went on back and forth for a good 30 seconds even after people starting telling them to shut up. I was just about to get up to complain when someone beat me to it. When the two groups saw the person leave to complain, both groups got up and left the theater. Made us miss a funny part of The 40-Year Old Virgin. Makes you wanna stay at home and just wait until the DVD comes out…

  17. I’m on call a lot and couldn’t go the the cinema if I wasn’t able to have it on vibrate with me. Sometimes it means leaving the cinema in the middle of a film but I don’t mind taking the chance, it’s better than not being able to go at all.

  18. Ditto Larry…my 2 year old’s school has Friday Night Outs for the parents, and we always have to have our phone on vibrate in case of an emergency while we’re at the movies those nights.

  19. I disagree. I really, really, really hate those who talk on the phone in the theater, or let their phone ring in the theater.

    My phone is always in vibrate/manner mode. The last time my wife and I went to the theater, my son had a severe allergic reaction and my mother had to call me. I exited the theater, and answered the call.

    My wife an I NEVER go anywhere we cannot receive a phone call when our children are being “babysat”. Therefore, if they block cell calls in theaters, we will no longer be going to the theater (without our children).

    Like many things….a few idiots are going to ruin it for us polite people.

  20. I would say this is a good plan. One of the reasons I don’t go to the movies. Someone talking. crying children (at an R rated movie!) and ringing phones.

    One out of three is a good start.

    Donna A.

  21. I went to see King Kong on Saturday, and this guy didn’t turn his phone off, it called twice and he answered TWICE. But did the guy say i am sorry but i can’t talk right now no HE actually starts a conversation TWICE

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