You know how annoying it is when people take out their phones in the movie theater while you’re just trying to enjoy seeing the Avengers fight Thanos or whatever? Well, Fox wants to make that a feature with a new film based on the Choose Your Own Adventure books. There is an app involved.
According to The Wrap, the new movie will work just like the classic book series. The plot will start at the same place every time, but at certain points, the audience will be prompted to make a decision by voting on an app called CtrlMovie. Much like the books, this decision will affect which part of the movie the audience sees next. Fox just showed an audience at CinemaCon how it will work, and the decision process is reportedly similar to that in video games by Telltale. Here’s a YouTube version of TellTale’s Minecraft game:
So there are a few things going on here. On the one hand, it’s interesting how technology like smartphones, digital projectors, and wireless connectivity have enabled us to get to a place where a Choose Your Own Adventure movie is even possible. On the other hand, it sort of feels like Fox wants to give us a new cinema experience that ruins some of the very best things about going to the movies. It’s nice to sit in a dark room with a bunch of strangers and stare at a giant screen while a carefully crafted story unfolds before your very eyes. It’s also amazing not to look at your phone for two hours.
You also have to consider the fact that nearly half of the audience might be pissed for the entire movie, since there are losers in democracy. Imagine if your votes were always in the minority, and you were forced to sit through a whole feature film driven by decisions you didn’t like. Fox, the movie studio, would probably just tell you to go buy another ticket and see it again, since the plot ends up being different every time. But that might also mean paying more money to feel like an even bigger loser.
The great thing about the Choose Your Own Adventure books is that it gives the reader a new kind of personal agency over the story. It’s a solitary experience the vast majority of the time. (Reading Choose Your Own Adventure with a friend is a great way to end a friendship over a plot twist.) So when you’re reading the book, the story is yours. It’s hard to see a whole movie theater full of people feeling the same sort of intimacy and ownership over the plot. Never mind the fact that nobody will be able to pay attention to the movie due to the glare of everyone using their phones all the time!
But who knows. Kids these days love all kinds of things, like YouTube and vaping. Maybe they’ll love rubbing on their smartphones while watching some fragmented storyline on a big screen, probably while drooling a bit. Heck, AMC Theaters is even considering making certain auditoriums “texting friendly,” since there seems to be some demand for a second screen experience. Maybe young, phone-addicted people crave constant interaction so much that they’ll fawn over this new Choose Your Own Adventure movie experience. If it seems like a nightmare to you, no problem. You can still choose to have an adventure in a regular movie, one that doesn’t require an app.