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Star Wars: The Force Awakens screenings are sure to bring out two things: people in absolutely maddening droves, and cosplayers in all their Star Wars finery. But, once again, those creative dressers have been dealt a blow by a major movie theater chain.
The AMC theaters webpage for the film includes a strict warning for all those eager cosplayers. They forewarn moviegoers that anything that can be construed as an actual weapon (or, perhaps, hide one) is off limits at screenings. As are any costumes that hide the wearer’s face. They then go one to specify that blasters and Darth Vader masks are exactly the kinds of no-nos they mean.
You know there are some people who were already crafting the perfect mask and blaster-filled costumes for everyone at their screening to geek out over. There’s no doubt that people are going to be very upset by this news. Late last month word came down from Cinemark theaters that they were committing to a similar policy. That one, however, also requires fans to leave their face painting fervor and lightsabers behind. And folks are already pissed about that order. It’s even possible that people who hadn’t gotten tickets by the time that edict came down decided to get tickets from AMC because of it, and now tons of those fans are likely to be disappointed again.
Cosplay is a big deal for some people, and it’s easy to understand how dressing up as your favorite characters can help fans enjoy their experiences with certain popular properties even more. It can be a fantastic way to sport your creativity, honor what you love, and have fun like a little kid again, which most of us rarely get to do. Not to mention the fun benefits of watching everyone come out in their creative best. There are, though, some obviously practical fears involved with these new rules.
Shootings have become a new threat that theater owners must address in some way. While the incidents are blessedly low at this point, whenever it happens everyone, everywhere, gets scared and for very good reason. Aside from adding metal detectors and bag checks (and both are either already being done or being considered by many theaters) what else can they do but limit this kind of thing when big films that inspire cosplay come around?
The fact is that no one wants to be nervous about sitting in a crowded movie theater, but that’s probably happening more often than not these days. If the annoyed cosplayers take a step back from their Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie going dreams, they’ll probably see that this is a good move by theater owners.
So, will the screening be less fun? For some people, I’m sure. But, overall, having a couple of rules to follow never hurt anybody. If anything, these restrictions will make the creation happy cosplayers turn up in even more original costumes than ever. And, that sounds like an additional reason to turn up on opening day to me.