As Star Wars: The Force Awakens fast approaches, the anticipation level is unfathomably high. Theaters are sold out for opening night. People will flock to the multiplexes. They will wear costumes, and although older men will outnumber other demographics, this will be an event for Jedi and Slave Leias to come together. However, several large theater chains in the United States will not allow some special touches to be allowed within the beloved Star Wars cosplay ritual.
In other words, your wookie costume will have to be a headless one. Nor will you be allowed to wear a Darth Vader visage, for masks have been banned from many theaters. Also on the chopping block? Lightsabers and blasters. This Cinemark poster specifies the nerd-dampening details: “No face coverings, face paint, or simulated weapons (including lightsabers/blasters) will be allowed in the building.”
Likewise, AMC has issued the following guidelines on its 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.”
These preventative measures ultimately seek to protect lives in an era of mass shootings, but another goal is to make theatergoers feel more secure. The recent Trainwreck theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana remains on everyone’s mind. In the wake of that tragedy, Amy Schumer called for stronger gun control practices. After another mass shooting occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, President Obama expressed sadness at how these events have become “routine.”
Certainly, banning masks makes sense to remove anonymity in the event of people bringing real weaponry into a theater. Some may see the banning of toy weapons as overly cautious, but some don’t mind.
I’m not sure if this guy has heard the news yet, but he’ll be crushed.