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By Clark Collis
June 19, 2020 at 02:21 PM EDT
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Mike Flanagan, James Mangold, and JA Bayona
Credit: Mike Windle/Getty Images; Andrew Toth/Getty Images; Bennett Raglin/WireImage

Following an outcry from filmgoers and a number of notable directors, AMC Theaters has announced it will require guests to wear masks when the chain begins reopening venues next month.

“This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of mask,” the company said in a statement. “At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. As we reopen theatres, we now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests.”

Mike Flanagan, James Mangold, and JA Bayona are among those who criticized the initial decision by AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron not to insist that all customers wear masks when watching a film. Aron announced the cinema chain's policy in the course of an interview with Variety which was published on Thursday.

“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” said Aron.“We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”

"Face masks are not political," wrote Doctor Sleep filmmaker Flanagan on Twitter in response. "@AMCTheatres, please reconsider this decision to intentionally endanger your own customers."

"I worked at Cineplex Odeon in Bowie, MD through high school," Flanagan wrote later. "My first job, I loved it. Customers could be tough, some messes I cleaned were INSANE. And that’s WITHOUT the possibility of a customer giving you a potentially fatal disease to take home. AMC employees deserve better."

"Suggesting that 'mask or no mask' is a political one is pathetic," wrote Logan director Mangold. "It's public health."

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director JA Bayona responded to the news with three facepalming emojis.

Today, meanwhile, Alamo Drafthouse and Regal Cinemas both tweeted out statements announcing that visitors to each of the cinema chains will be required to wear masks, except when eating or drinking.

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