Panic Buttons at the Movies

My new favourite movie blog Mad About the Movies writes about the dubiously named gadget called the Regal Guest Response System. From the press release:

Regal Entertainment Group theatres participating in the Guest Response System invite selected patrons to carry a paging device with them into the auditorium. One patron may participate for each of the theatre’s auditoriums and for each movie showtime. The Guest Response device is a hand-held pager with four buttons. Each button alerts local management of a different problem such as: sound, picture, piracy or other disturbance. When the patron pushes a button, a message goes to a pager worn by a manager which tells them the nature of the concern, and in which auditorium.

There’s an interface designed with only the corporation in mind. Surely ‘noisy movie watchers’ is the top complaint of moviegoers, and yet it’s bundled under ‘other disturbance’. And have you ever seen anybody pirating a movie? I went to, like, 60 movies last year, many on the opening weekend (indeed, often on the first Friday matinee showing) and I’ve never seen a dude with a video camera. Where’s my button for ‘the guy next to me reeks’ or ‘I paid $11 for this jackalope turd?’

Here’s a little news piece on the new widget. Vapid news anchor banter included at no extra charge.


  1. Hasn’t it been shown that piracy aka unauthorized copies come from hollywood insiders who sell their warez weeks before any hick enters a theatre with a camcorder? And in the age of digital, exactly how many regal theatres are going to have a/v problems? So, maybe there is a way to use these devices for other purposes to explain to the copyright cartel’s lapdogs what the problem is that we copyfighter have with their policy and these stupid devices that are not designed to make the consumers happy (like DRM?)

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