Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.
After Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign released an ad featuring the attorney general in a movie theater, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema responded Thursday with a tongue-in-cheek message to admonish him: Don’t talk while the movie is playing.
The video — a reminder to be quiet that plays before a movie — borrows liberally from the campaign ad it spoofs.
Abbott’s advertisement, which will play before movies in some Texas theaters, features the Republican nominee among a big-screen audience, saying, “Making a 30-second ad involves a lot. I can’t imagine what it takes to make a movie. But I do know how much effort it takes to run for governor in Texas.”
Abbott goes on to encourage viewers to text “FREEDOM” to a campaign number.
The Alamo Drafthouse ad features the same footage — up until he asks for the audience’s help. Then a block of text cuts in: “Politics aside, Greg, don’t talk in our theaters or we’ll kick your ass out.”
Against a backdrop of soaring music and a fluttering American flag, the PSA continues, “Tweet #donttalk for freedom.”
“This isn’t about where you sit on the political debate; it’s about when you sit in a movie theater. At the Alamo Drafthouse, we believe in two things: freedom and quiet cinemas,” Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League said in a statement.
That Abbott was encouraging people to text in a movie theater, League told the Tribune, was “adding insult to injury.”
League said the cinema did not ask Abbott’s campaign for permission to use the footage, and has not heard from him about it yet. “I’m not sure if I will. I look at it as parody,” he said. “I encourage him to give me a shout about it any time.”
Abbott campaign spokesman Avdiel Huerta said in an email Thursday: “United by freedom and a shared passion for sing-alongs, Greg Abbott looks forward to working with the Alamo Drafthouse to make Texas #1 in the nation for fewest movie talkers.”
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, Abbott’s opponent, responded as well, tweeting, “@drafthouse I may have spoken for 11 hours, but even I know it’s never OK to talk at the movies. #DontTalk.”
The message places Abbott in a long line of politicians and celebrities who have participated, intentionally or not, in the Alamo Drafthouse’s Don’t Talk PSAs. Former Gov. Ann Richards made quick work of an obnoxious moviegoer in one — the video warned, “Don’t talk during the movie … or Ann Richards will take your ass out” — while others have featured Jonah Hill, Will Ferrell and George Romero.
Disclosure: Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2010. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.