In July, James Holmes was found guilty of the first-degree murder of 12 people during a 2012 midnight screening of the Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises." Holmes was later sentenced to life in prison.
That attack in Aurora, Colorado wasn’t the only recent example of theater violence in this country.
Two people were killed and nine others were injured at a theater in Lafayette, Louisiana in July. And earlier this month, a man with a hatchet attacked theater patrons in the Nashville area before he was shot and killed by police officers.
In the wake of those incidents, the Showcase Cinemas theater chain in the Northeastern United States recently said that it was banning moviegoers from bringing in backpacks and packages. And Regal Cinemas — the nation’s largest theater chain — has begun inspecting moviegoers’ bags.
Regal is not saying much about the decision to increase security other than a few lines on the company website.
We were curious to see what this increased security means for the average movie patron, so we sent Frame contributor Robert Garrova to the Regal L.A. Live Stadium 14 to see what measures are actually in place.
Here’s what we found:
1. Regal is checking bags
Here’s what they have posted at the box office:
We didn’t see any metal detectors or pat downs, just bags, purses and backpacks being checked. We did notice a theater employee who seemed to be checking that the theater’s exits were secure during the movie.
2. Regal and other major chains are keeping quiet on their security measures.
We reached out to Regal’s spokesperson and did not receive a reply. Other major chains, including AMC, did not respond by the time of this posting. Groups like the National Association of Theatre Owners and the Motion Picture Association of America declined to comment.
3. Theater owners may not be talking about their safety measures, but some of them seem to be thinking about it.
The National Association of Theatre Owners of California/Nevada branch has posted notice of an upcoming seminar, “Emergency Response - Active Shooter Workshop.” The event page says the seminar will take place at Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. The National Association of Theatre Owners of California/Nevada declined to comment on the seminar, citing that it would be a members-only event.
4. No, this is probably not a snack check.
Theater chains make a lot of money on concessions. But when we packed some snacks, they weren’t confiscated.
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