Attention hardcore Star Wars fanatics: If you were planning to attend a screening of The Force Awakens sporting that authentic Tusken Raider get-up or Stormtrooper armor you scored at an auction, you may want to opt for an R2-D2 T-shirt instead.
One national cinema chain, AMC Theatres, is using their website to ask patrons to leave anything that would hide or obscure their face at home, as well as any props or toys that resemble weapons. AMC operates several popular multiplexes in South Florida, including Sunset Place and Aventura. According to their statement:
"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 or face paint. In short, bring your light saber, turn it off during the movie, and leave the blaster and Darth Vader mask at home."
Other companies have followed suit. Regal Cinemas, the largest theater chain in the U.S. and owner of the South Beach 18, told a patron on Twitter that "cosplay is welcome - just no mask-wearing or weapon-life props." Cinemark Theatres, which runs the Paradise in Davie, has banned "face coverings, face paint or simulated weapons (including lightsabers/blasters)."
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The heightened security is partially a result of the ongoing spate of mass shootings in public spaces, including the attack inside an Aurora, CO theater during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 and, more recently, a shooting at a facility serving the disabled in San Bernardino, CA.