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Disney Encourages Audiences to Bring iPads to ‘Little Mermaid’ Screenings

Just as talk is reigniting about the use of phones and electronic devices during screenings thanks to one movie blogger’s instantly notorious call to (and inappropriate use of) 911 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Disney has announced that they’d like to encourage you to bring your iPads to the theater. For their upcoming re-release of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ the studio wants you and your kiddos to bring your iPads to screenings for a special interactive experience. Oh brother.

No one likes bright screens in a movie theater — they’re obnoxious and distract your fellow audience members from the movie they paid to see. But Disney has a solution: encourage people to bring their iPads. Now it’s not just a tiny phone screen, it’s a big iPad screen … and lots of them.

According to the promotional video above, Disney’s re-release of ‘The Little Mermaid’ will be a special “Second Screen Live” experience — or experiment, rather, as the studio promises a new level of entertainment when viewers bring their iPads. Kids will be able to play games, interact with the movie, and find little Easter eggs to heighten their enjoyment.

There’s been talk in the last year from movie chains and, more recently, from a consumer product specialist named Hunter Walk, about creating a movie theater environment where people are allowed to bring their electronic devices — laptops, phones, et al. — and can watch the movies the way they want to: by not watching them at all.

For kids, Disney’s new “Second Screen Live” experience may be fun, and since the adults already know what to expect, they can hardly complain about the sanctioned nuisance. But is Disney paving the way for the second screen experience to become a regular event? Will other studios follow suit? The event raises tons of questions about whether or not Disney’s goal is to make this a regular occurrence, or if it’s intended only for special screenings, and if it will have any influence on the decisions of movie theater chains to allow — or, heaven forbid, encourage — audiences to bring their electronic devices to the theater.

Now would be a good time to see if the Alamo Drafthouse is opening a location near you.

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