When The Little Mermaid's Ariel sang about "gadgets and gizmos aplenty," I have a feeling she wasn't singing about parents and kids bringing their iPads to the theater to interact with her on the big screen. But that's just what Disney is asking theatergoers to do with the release of The Little Mermaid: Second Screen Live.
At a time when theaters are begging audience members to turn off their mobile devices and relax to enjoy the show, Second Screen Live is basically doing the opposite. The experience encourages audiences to use their iPads to augment their moviegoing experience by interacting with the film through games, competitions, and sing-alongs.
Ticket holders download a free app prior to entering the theater and receive instructions for signing into WiFi and adjusting their device's settings prior to the movie's start. Disney has arranged the app to sync with the movie so that during popular songs, the lyrics appear on your iPad screen (and on the bottom of the movie screen) to encourage sing-alongs, and games - such as "what happens next" and "puzzle scrambles" - coordinate with what you're watching on the screen.