In an unfortunate sign of the times, Regal Cinemas, the largest theater chain in the U.S., has begun checking theatergoers' bags as part of a new security policy at its 570 theaters across the country. It’s unclear when exactly the new policy went into effect, but the theater chain recently updated its admittance policy to more closely resemble American sports stadiums.
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. 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.
Last month a gunman opened fire in a Lafayette, Louisiana theater killing two people before killing himself; earlier this month a man armed with a pellet gun, pepper spray, and an axe attacked people in a Tennessee theater before being shot and killed by police.
“AMC, the nation's second-largest cinema chain, gives theaters managers the discretion to check for bags if they have security concerns, but there is no bag check policy for all theaters, said one person close to the company,” according to the Los Angeles Times. "A spokesman for Carmike Cinemas said the company was reviewing its security procedures but had no bag check policy similar to Regal's."