Regal Cinemas May Now Check Theatergoers’ Bags Upon Entry

(Nicholas Eckhart)

(Nicholas Eckhart)

You might already be used to having your backpack or purse searched upon entering concerts or sporting events, but now there’s one more venue that may take a look inside your belongings: Regal Cinemas announced it may search guests’ bags upon entry to any of its locations across the country.

The theater chain, which has about 7,300 screens in the U.S., added a new security policy to its website, noting that “security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America.”

“Regal Entertainment Group wants our customers and staff to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in our theatres. To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission,” the policy reads. “We acknowledge that this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope these are minor in comparison to increased safety.”

Entertainment Weekly notes that it’s unclear whether Regal will increase ticket prices to cover the cost of additional staff that might be needed to check moviegoers’ bags.

This might not cause even a ripple among movie lovers, however, as one analyst for entertainment research company Rentrak tells USA Today. Basically, it’s old hat.

“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,” Paul Dergarabedian explains. “Regal has decided to make a concerted effort to show their patrons that they’re aware of security issues.”

As for whether the increased security will hurt the box office, he doesn’t think it’ll many any difference whatsoever.

“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,” he says.

The move comes after two unrelated shootings in movie theaters recently: in July a gunman killed two women and then himself at a theater in Louisiana, and in an attack at a theater in August near Nashville, a man went after a theater full of people with pepper spray, a hatchet and a pellet gun. He was killed by police.

Regal theaters may search bags at the door [USA Today]
Regal Cinemas begins checking bags at entry after theater shootings [Entertainment Weekly]

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