Cinema owners seek to curb phone rage

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Movies

New Zealand cinema owners may use mobile phone jamming technology to stop mid-movie calls, text messaging - and cell phone rage among patrons, they said Friday.

The national Motion Pictures Exhibitors Association said it's studying the legality of using mobile phone jammers because of the disruption from the phones during movie screenings.

Association spokesman Duncan Mackenzie said the jammers could be used in the 200-member group's cinemas round the country.

Mobile phones in cinemas were a "huge disruption" to moviegoers, Mackenzie said.

"Even texting creates so much light and it's unfair to expect that people should have to put up with it," he said.

The worst offenders he saw were middle aged women who answered their phones in cinemas and continued conversations, getting aggravated if asked to turn their cell phones off or leave, he said.

Mackenzie said "cell phone rage" between patrons sometimes turned nasty.

He had to defuse one incident when a man threatened to hit two foreign students sitting on opposite sides of the cinema who were texting each other.

While many felt teenagers were the worst offenders, Mackenzie said they were the most cooperative about turning phones off.

If jammers were introduced, people on call for emergencies could leave their mobile phones or pagers at the reception desk, he said.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS