You know, it’s not really a lot to ask. You go to the movies, you pay your ten dollars to experience a movie with a group of strangers, to laugh, to cry, to enjoy, to have that communal experience that defines the movies. Or, if you are the Walt Disney Corporation, pay ten bucks to go to a screening of The Little Mermaid with your freakin’ iPad.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some tablet computers. I own a Nexus 7 and use it pretty much constantly. You know where I don’t bring it, Disney? The movie theater! Seriously, look at this and tell me you don’t hate everybody in this theater:
The basic idea is that you download an app to play along during the movie, and this is a dumb idea. Every aspect of this, in fact, gets dumber the more you think about it.
First of all, it’s bad enough that a Disney vault release is getting treated like this. Seriously, if you want to see a Disney movie in the theater, the only way to do it is for Disney to let a print escape. So basically, Disney is ruining what could be a precious family experience for a lot of people by encouraging the kind of people who get posted on STFU Parents a lot to be as annoying as possible. Because associating your brand with tears and disappointment is a surefire way to make money!
Secondly, why do we want to teach our children that a movie theater is like a living room? A movie theater is not like a living room. If this app were in the living room, fine. There’s going to be the usual squad of trolls who cry about how nobody should have to watch a movie in “monastic silence,” but the truth is, as I’ve discussed before, using your iPad or chatting loudly with your friends at the movies is the exact opposite of the joy of filmgoing.
Thirdly, these screening will stop right after the first one, because having a small child hold up an iPad is a perfect opportunity to score yourself a free iPad if you’re a good sprinter. Expect this to happen at least once or twice, and then the entire event to suddenly become iPad free.
Finally, “second screen” is an annoying tech buzzword used by the kind of people who insist they can totally, like, multitask, no matter what those stupid psychologists say. It is a fad, like Smell-o-Rama or the latest attempt to revive 3D.
And one suspects that Disney has already received feedback in that respect; if you look closely, you might notice that comments have been disabled on the video. Gee. Can’t imagine why.