Disney encouraging kids to ignore their movie?

As a ’90s kid I grew up with the Disney Renaissance classics (The Little Mermaid (1989) through Tarzan (1999)). I’ve always been a little sad that kids these days aren’t getting the same quality movies (in fact, none of us are). Sure, there are a few children’s movies in the last 10 years that stand out but not with the same award-winning music, loveable protagonists and love-to-hate villains. “There’s something there that wasn’t there before.”

With this attitude it’s nice to see Disney bring its classics back to the big screen. (I don’t agree as readily with the constant “new editions” and the whole premise of the “vault.”) The Little Mermaid is set to come back to theaters and, in select theaters, Disney promises a whole new viewing experience. They encourage kids to bring smartphones and tablets and play games, sing along, see behind the scenes all during the movie!

It’s no question that we have trouble putting our smartphones away, that we would rather text call than, rather play games on the bus than talk to the person sitting next to you. Kids are almost encouraged to play games. Who cares about reading, playing with friends or spending time with parents when you have a iPad to play with. What does that say about us? And with “innovations” like Second Screen Live, where are we heading?

Ignoring the fact that encourage game play during a movie is certainly no help to a child’s attention span, what about the rest of the theater? Does everyone have a smartphone or tablet (and no, Androids are not compatible with this Disney app)? Does everyone want to participate? Does the app have sound? Is it synchronized to the movie? If something like this were to take off, think how drastically it would change our movie-going experience. You wouldn’t be able to focus on the screen with a dozen lit screens in your periphery and that’s assuming there aren’t noises to distract you as well. Fingers crossed that other film companies and distributors don’t get the same “bright” idea.

What it comes down to is money. What else? Disney has a deal with Apple (which is why Androids can’t get the app) so it encourages parents with Disney-loving children to invest in Apple products. It’s a partnership that, I admit, is somewhat terrifying. I, for one, would not allow my child to waste my money. To go to a movie and not even watch the screen? What’s next going to a restaurant to get a food app? What do you think? Disney flop or techy brilliance?

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