Theater chain to check costumes

Regal Cinemas will inspect all theatergoers who wear a costume or carry props to a show.

Wearing a costume? Prepare for inspection.

Regal Cinemas will inspect all theatergoers who wear a costume or carry props to a show.

But theater officials won’t say what they’ll allow and what they’ll ban.

“Moviegoers should expect stricter controls over character attire and accessories at our theaters,” the cinema chain said in a written statement. “Details regarding our security measures are not discussed publicly, for obvious safety reasons.”

In the wake of last week’s movie theater shooting in Colorado, some theaters throughout the country have posted explicit bans against either fake weapons or face masks. But in the Capital Region, only Regal is announcing stricter rules regarding the costumes that have become popular, particularly during the midnight showing on opening night of science fiction and fantasy movies.

Children stood in line wearing robes and waving wands for the “Harry Potter” movies, while adults have donned Batman and Spiderman costumes for superhero shows. Masks and face paint are common.

Prop weapons that look like guns aren’t common at those showings, mainly because the heroes in those movies don’t usually use guns. Batman is opposed to shooting people; Spiderman fires sticky spider silk rather than bullets. Even Captain America, a superhero Army soldier, is more known for his bulletproof shield than his occasional gun use.

However, rifle-style weapons are common in “Star Wars,” along with light sabers.

But some independent movie theater owners said they don’t think a ban on such props, or on costumes, would have stopped the shooting in Colorado.

James Holmes allegedly entered a theater in Aurora, Colo., and propped open an emergency exit door, then left the theater. Police said he parked his car near the emergency exit and dressed in body armor before walking back through the emergency exit with several guns and shooting into the audience. It’s not clear whether he carried any items into the theater openly, and some theater owners said he would have been stopped if he had hauled an arsenal through a theater lobby.

“We won’t let them bring guns in, how about that?” said Malta Drive-In co-owner Ed Caro, who decried prop and mask bans as worthless.

“Obviously I know the shooter in Aurora had a gas mask but it seems stupid,” he said. “Some homegrown nutjob — I don’t know what you could do to prevent that from happening.”

He is not banning costumes or props.

The Scotia Cinema isn’t banning anything, either. Owner Richard Adams said he doesn’t see costumes as a problem.

“We don’t get too much of that here,” he added. “They probably get it more at the first-run theaters.”

Across the bridge in Schenectady, there are no bans at Movieland. Chief Operating Officer Joseph Masher said the theater already has enough security.

“We will continue, as always, to make sure our theaters are safe and comfortable for our valued patrons,” he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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