WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The first showing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” started at 7:00 p.m. Thursday at the Cinemark Cinemas in West Springfield. Movie theaters across the country ramped up security Thursday night for the Star Wars movie premiere.
Cinemark Cinemas’ manager Gabriel Rodriguez told 22News that they would have security Thursday night for the Star Wars premiere. 22News saw lots of staff and police monitoring the lobby, all to ensure everyone stays safe.
Anyone seeing the movie can wear a full body costume, but they are not allowed to have anything covering their face. That means no masks, no veils, and no face painting. Props that looked like weapons were left at the door.
When it comes to bringing a bag, you can bring any bag that you would normally bring to a theater, like a purse, but local police officers will be inspecting bags at random if they feel it needs to be checked.
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The goal was to prevent any violence, like the shooting at the Batman premiere in Aurora, Colorado in 2012.
John Cooke of Franklin said, “I think it’s okay if they want to do it. My opinion is that these things can happen anywhere at any time in any big venue. So it’s difficult to protect against all threats.”
One of the first people waiting in line for the Star Wars premiere, Chris Linthwaite, was told by a staff member he had to take off his face makeup. He said he understands the reason perfectly clear, but it does ruin some of the fun for fans. “I know that there’s been some events over the past several years that have lead to that. But it was a little disappointing,” says Linthwaite.
People still debate whether movie theaters should have tightened security. “It definitely us a good idea for premieres,” says Chris Barch of Granby. “On a regular basis, I really don’t know.”
Two friends disagreed. “I don’t get frightened very easy,” said Patricia Novak of South Hadley, who says that extra security is taking things overboard and causing paranoia. Her friend, Antoinette Bara of South Hadley, disagreed saying, “Oh, I disagree with you. I think it’s terrific because I was thinking about it when we were in the movies.”
There are no state laws that require specific security measures at movie theaters.