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Silent Films?

Movie theater gadget encourages tattling on noisy cell phone users.

Watch out, “Inconsiderate Cell Phone Man”! There’s a new sheriff in town — your fellow movie-going audience members. According to Reuters, Regal Entertainment Group is arming some film viewers with a special gadget that would signal theater staff at the push of a button to remove anyone causing a disturbance — particularly on mobile phones. “Cell phones drive us crazy. We had gotten to the point…where we have had people getting into physical battles in theaters,” Regal Chief Executive Michael Campbell told the Reuters Media Summit in New York Wednesday (Nov. 29). “One customer will say to another ‘Shut off your cell phone’ or ‘Shut up’…We’ve had people assaulted with bats, knives, guns.” As an alternative to violence (or thrown Jujubes), the pager-sized gizmo would discreetly alert managers to come and diffuse the situation. For added convenience, three other buttons would alert staff about projection problems, temperature adjustment, and “other.” The largest U.S. movie theater chain is currently testing the device at 25 locations, but if it’s a hit, the device could roll out to all of its 6,400 screens as early as next year. Here’s what people are saying (hopefully in their 6″ voices):

“Maybe they should just set up a ‘sniper booth’ next to the projector and knock off people who are being rude.” — Jason,

“I’m more excited about the ‘reporting problems’ button than the disruption option. There always seems to be something wrong with the projection — screen alignment, audio, something. And Regal is the place I get up most often to complain about it.” — James,

“Oh, if there were only a button to turn off (or at least turn down the volume on) those migraine-inducing pre-movie ads.” — Jette Kernion,

“Sometimes though on a rare occasion a rowdy crowd is fun. I saw Borat at a late showing and it was full of teenagers whose responses made the experience kind of fun.” — Tashi,

“What I find most disturbing about this story is that theater owners seem more concerned about a cell phone going off than the fact that people are walking in and sitting down with bats, knives and guns on them. Jeeeez!” — Sam,

“Aaah, now I am thinking it would be nice to pause the movie while I goes peepee.” — PEZ,

Talk: Cool device for a movie lover, or too much like Big Brother? COMMENT

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