Through their aggressive preservation of the movie-going experience, The Alamo Drafthouse has become the Batman of movie chains. If you talk during a movie, you're their enemy. If you text during a movie, you're their enemy. If you are a part of any sort of disturbance towards the movie watching experience, you sure as hell are their enemy. And now if you wear your Google Glasses during a film, you just might be their enemy.
Deadline reported that the Drafthouse is the second chain to make such a policy official, as AMC Theaters nixed their usage after an incident this past January, where a man wearing the glasses was apprehended by Homeland Security over suspicions of piracy. Unlike his more mainstream competitors, Tim League – CEO of Alamo Drafthouse -- waited over a full year to make his ban official. This was sparked by a demonstration that Google Glass had done in Austin, where League admits he:
"...recognized the potential piracy problem that they present for cinemas. I decided to put off a decision until we started seeing them in the theater, and that started happening this month."
Of course, Tim League isn't completely blind to the plight of those who actually wear Google Glasses as regular eyeglasses, and has stated that the usage of the glasses in the theater would be evaluated on a more case by case basis. While this is reasonable, keep in mind that the Alamo Drafthouse is a smaller chain of theaters that already has policies in place to protect moviegoers from texting and talking during the film. They're equipped for this because it's a part of the general culture at the Drafthouse – if you see someone violating the rules, you're more inclined to say something at a theater where you know something will be done. The case by case basis works well for that particular chain.
AMC Theaters, on the other hand, is a much bigger theater chain than Alamo Drafhouse. A much bigger chain that isn't as well known for this sort of self policing audience. Judging by their previous handling of a similar situation, this ban could inspire that theater, and other big chain theaters, to ban the glasses wholesale and without prejudice. The worst-case scenario could even see this ban inspiring a full-on electronics ban in theaters, which means good luck going to the movies without a bag search reserved for preview screenings.
Movie theaters have it hard enough as it is, with the market ever shrinking thanks to the home theater experience becoming more preferable than the multiplex experience. If theatrical chains like Alamo Drafthouse are going to stay competitive, they're going to need to become more aware of their audiences and their complaints. At the same time, they're going to have to stay aware of what technological advances are harmful or harmless to the theater experience. In the meantime, be mindful of your Google Glasses and the ever-changing public policies involving them. Don't be a glasshole.