Star Wars The Force Awakens: Theater chains cracking down on masks, weapons
Star Wars fans might consider lightsabers to be elegant weapons for a more civilized age, but glowing swords won’t be welcome at hundreds of theaters showing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and neither will masks or face paint.
As spotted on Twitter, the Cinemark theater chain’s posters for the highly-anticipated space-opera sequel warn that “Star Wars costumes are welcome. However, no face coverings, face paint, or simulated weapons (including lightsabers/blasters) will be allowed in the building.”
Headquarted in Plano, Texas, Cinemark is the third largest theater chain in the U.S., with 334 theaters in 41 states.
Masks and blasters are also verboten at AMC theaters, which comprise the No. 2 chain in the U.S. Lightsabers will be permitted as long as they’re switched off once the show starts.
Per the company’s website, “AMC does not permit weapons or items that would make other guests feel uncomfortable or detract from the movie-going experience. Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks. In short, bring your lightsaber, turn it off during the movie, and leave the blaster and Darth Vader mask at home.”
An AMC spokesperson told EW the statement reflects the company’s standard costume policy, which has been in place for several years without generating negative feedback from moviegoers.
Concerns about balancing public safety and security with personal privacy and freedom at the multiplex have come to the fore in recent years in the wake of mass shootings at theaters in Aurora, Colo., and Lafayette, La.
Representatives for Cinemark and Regal Cinemas (the largest theater chain in the U.S.) did not immediately respond to requests for comment about their costume policies.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18. Watch the trailer above.