In response to the string of violent attacks at movie theaters nationwide recently, Regal Theaters will now be checking moviegoers’ bags as an added precaution. Regal, which operates the largest theater chain in the U.S., announced the change this week.
“Security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America,” explained the movie theater chain on its website. “Regal Entertainment Group wants our customers and staff to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in our theaters. … We acknowledge that this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope that these are minor in comparison to increased safety.”
The added security comes just days after a study concluded that nearly half of moviegoers would be willing to pay an extra dollar for theaters to beef up security. “Moviegoers are telling us that they’re starting to see the value of security,” said consumer research firm C4’s Ben Spergel to Variety. “Hopefully, they’re beginning to value it the same amount that they value IMax or 3D, where they recognize that you have to pay more for a better experience. You may also have to pay more for a safer experience.”
As most of us are aware, a rash of tragic incidents at movie theaters have spurred the call for increased security. Earlier this month in Tennessee, police shot and killed a man with a pellet gun, pepper spray, and an ax used to attack theatergoers. Last month, during a screening of Trainwreck, a man shot and killed two people before killing himself.
Regal, which operates more than 570 theaters across the U.S., is the first major chain to implement mandatory bag checks. And at least one entertainment industry analyst doesn’t think moviegoers will care too much about the new policy.
“Moviegoers have become so accustomed to having these types of security measures enacted in all kinds of public spaces, from theme parks to sports venues and rock concerts,” said analyst Paul Dergarabedian to USA Today.
“I don’t think anyone is going to stay away from a movie theater because of increased security measures. If anything, they’re going to appreciate it.”