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Theater Gives Movie-Goers Device to Snitch on Rude Patrons

Theater Gives Movie-Goers Device to Snitch on Rude Patrons

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Michael Gargiulo, NBC NewschannelWe've all been there, enjoying a good movie at the theater when someone's cell phone starts ringing or the picture messes up on the big screen. Now a movie theater chain is offering a way for you to let employees know, without ever leaving your seat.

At some movie theaters, the drama isn't just on the screen. Moviegoers often have to contend with fellow audience members who won't keep quiet or cause disturbances. Movie patron Jack Velasquez says his biggest pet peeve is when people who talk during the movie.

Now the nation's largest movie chain, Regal Cinemas, is asking some customers to watch over their fellow audience members. They are now expanding a program that offers these devices to selected moviegoers.

It's a transmitter with buttons for different complaints. Press the button and that complaint comes up on a beeper worn by the manager. Theater manager Heather DeMattis says "it helps our staff control the situation in the auditoriums. Our staff goes in and patrols, but most of the disturbances happen when they are not standing there. So this helps us out."

There's selections for "bad picture," "bad sound," even piracy, but when this program was tested in Regal's Battery Park city theater, the number one complaint was this "other disturbances," specifically cell phones.

Heather DeMattis says "people on their cell phones, they're going off. They don't shut them off and people are just standing there having a conversation."

Some moviegoers say this could help keep order in the crowd. Movie patron Alex Lewis-Oaks says "if it makes the experience all around a better one than why not." Others see potential problems, with a beeper equipped lookout summoning the manager for every slight infraction.

Movie patron Marc Viggiano says "the level of annoyance, it's relative.. Someone might think someone eating popcorn is really obnoxious instead of that's the way he eats popcorn. Then you have an usher running back and forth and that disrupts the situation more than you have in the past."

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