Movie Theaters Grapple With 'Pokemon Go' Invasion

Maury Jacks
Pokemon Go players in the lobby of Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

Alamo Drafthouse has created a special PSA asking people to refrain from doing any hunting once in auditoriums even as it welcomes gamers to play in lobbies and sip off-menu Pokemon Go cocktails.

The upscale Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain is nothing if not hip to changing times. So when Pokemon Go launched on July 6, it took only a day or two for the Austin, Texas-based chain to embrace the fervor and happily encourage patrons to play the mobile game in its lobbies, even creating special cocktails.

Public places like movie theaters are prime hunting ground for Pokemon Go players, but in the ongoing battle to make sure patrons don't use their phones while watching a movie, the augmented reality game is a new, and unwelcome, wrinkle.

So when it comes to the actual auditorium, Alamo Drafthouse continues to enforce its zero-tolerance policy toward cellphone use of any kind, a rule spelled out in a PSA that plays before each movie.

Not wanting to take any chances, Alamo has created a separate PSA addressing the Nintendo game, which in less than a week has transformed into a cultural phenomenon, becoming the most popular mobile game in history and sending 20 million people a day (and counting) into the real world to hunt virtual cartoon characters.

Titled "Don't Talk PSA: Pokemon Go," the video begins with a clip from Seven that is quickly superimposed with a Pokemon character and the instructions: "Don't talk. Don't text. Don't throw any Pokeballs. Got it, trainers?"

Alamo co-founder Tim League tells The Hollywood Reporter: "We do embrace the phenomenon, and have launched three off-menu Pokemon cocktails this week that are offered at our venues that are PokeStops. We've got some fertile hunting grounds in our lobbies, and hunters need fuel."

At least 10 Alamo Drafthouse sites — the circuit has a 22 locations across the country, including 14 in Texas — are PokeStops, where gamers collect items needed to capture their prey, or Gyms, where players compete against each other.

There are also PokeStops and Gyms in lobbies of other cinemas across the country, although Alamo is believed to be the first to create a special PSA.

Alamo Drafthouse is offering special Pokemon Go cocktails at some of its venues: The Fiery Passion, the Mystic Wisdom and Trust Your Instincts.

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