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Violence in the theaters

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Anticipating violence at the opening of Boyz N the Hood, some theater owners took precautions and successfully protected their customers and their venues. Most, however, say they’ll take a different tack next time: They just won’t book a potentially dangerous film.

· A few days before the opening of Boyz, the head of a major East Coast theater chain installed a metal detector in one of its Boston-area movie houses; so did Kenneth Lombard, executive vice president of the black-owned Baldwin Hills Theater in Los Angeles. ”We did it for safety and crowd control,” explains Lombard. ”Though after a certain point, you need to consider not showing a movie at all.”
· The AMC theater chain in Dallas added extra security and staff, as did the Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas. Michael Patrick, head of Carmike, says, ”We add off-duty policemen if a problem is anticipated, but we don’t use metal detectors or dogs. We’d most likely stop playing certain types of movies before we’d resort to that.”
· Opening-night violence seems to be primarily a big-city problem. A Hoyts theater in suburban Naugatuck, Conn., added three extra security guards for Boyz; there were only minor disturbances in the parking lot. And Dan Harkins of the Arizona-based Harkins Theaters chain notes, ”We had more rambunctious kids in Disney’s 101 Dalmations.”

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