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With the growing fervor surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, people are planning to celebrate and show their fandom in a variety of fashions. One way this often manifests is through elaborate costumes. However, if you’re planning to wear one to opening night, you better do some research first, as many theaters are putting restrictions on what you can and can’t wear.
This tweet shows a sign at a Cinemark theater warning that, while Star Wars costumes are welcomed, even encouraged, at screenings of The Force Awakens, there are some restrictions and limitations. They will not allow audience members with costumes that cover their faces or hide their identity, and there will also be no simulated weapons permitted, ranging from lightsabers to blasters and maybe even a replica of Chewbacca’s trademark crossbow.
There is no specific reason cited on this sign, but this move is obviously a direct response to all of the shootings that have happened at movie theaters recently. By not allowing masks, there is less chance that a shooter could enter a theater, kill people, and get away without being identified. Perhaps having their face exposed could also dissuade some potential attackers emboldened by wearing a mask.
As far as the weapons go, it’s possible to disguise a real weapon as a toy, but it also eliminates the possibility of some pre-show lightsaber battles getting a little too heated (people are going to be pretty jazzed up) and devolving into real life brawls.
Whatever the reasons, this is just the latest in a line of security measures that have been implemented at movie theaters as a response to increasing incidents of violence at screenings. In addition to the more high profile and deadly cases, like the shootings in Lafayette, Louisiana, there have also been reports of fistfights, assaults, and the like.
Bag checks on the way into theaters have become more common (though you have to question the effectiveness of the kid tearing tickets at the front door if someone does try to bring in a weapon), and recent polls have shown that many are in favor implementing more strict rules and regulations.
And apparently that is going to effect how people watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens when it opens later this year on December 18, as it is doubtful Cinemark will be the only chain to impose such restrictions. Does this impact your plans for opening night?