I've been hearing about this more and more lately. Regal Cinemas has been testing a "Guest Response System" that allows their viewers to press a button on a small handheld device which will alert the theater staff to disturbances ranging from projector malfunctions to other viewers pirating the film. Apparently the testing has gone well, because there are now over a hundred Regal Cinemas locations throughout the United States that have begun making use of these devices.
As I continue to attend the theater with some regularity and spend upwards of nine dollars to see a film among strangers who give less of a shit about my personal enjoyment of the movie than they do about listening to one of the dozen pre-picture messages about turning off their cell phones or discussing their plans for the weekend during the feature, I wonder if it isn't time for some sort of "snitch" system like this. However I still feel like a feature of this caliber will cause more harm than good. I mean, does each and every person in the theater get one of these? How many idiotic high school students will be fucking with them during the movie and how many of them will get lost, stolen, broken, or covered with whatever sticky shit people manage to get on the floors and seats of the theater? And will the use of these things raise the price of going to the theater even more? My gut feeling is that it may, especially if they are broken or lost as I hypothesize will be the case. It almost doesn't seem worth the trouble.
Then again, I saw an evening showing of Bug yesterday with a friend and we were alone in the theater with only two other moviegoers. Even without the anonymity of a large crowd, the other two not only talked during the film, but one of them also neglected to turn of their mother fucking cell phone. How can human beings be such fucking selfish, moronic douche bags? Perhaps what we really need is a large, muscular, short-tempered man wearing a shirt with bold glow in the dark letters that read "SHUT UP!" and wielding a board with nails in it and the full immunity to use it in every theater. This may seem like I'm over-reacting a bit, but when I saw Spiderman 3 the day after it came out in theaters, a man with two small children in the packed theater sat quietly as one of them proceeded to repeatedly stand on the top of the seats in front of him and jump off as though he was in the playground area of a fast food restaurant, giggling and talking at normal volume all the while. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior, and I'm not talking about the kid. I'm talking about the parent that let this display continue uninterrupted. I'm telling you...big men with sharp objects will do the trick like no hand-held tattle-tale machine ever will.
To see if there is a Regal Cinemas location with a Guest Response System in your area, you may consult a list of locations here.