I’m sitting in the airport waiting to hop a plane to Los Angeles, and Twitter’s exploded with the news that, in the wake of this morning’s terrible shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, some folks on Fox have suggested banning costumes at movie screenings. AMC has already moved to do so:
AMC Theatres said it will not let any guests in costumes or face-covering masks into the theaters, and issued a ban on fake weapons. The company added that anyone wanting a refund in light of this new policy will be granted one. “We are taking necessary precautions to ensure our guests who wish to enjoy a movie this weekend can do so with as much peace of mind as possible in these circumstances,” AMC Theatres said in a news release.
I get this as a matter of company practice, and the ban on fake weapons may even be sensible, both from the perspective of preventing people from walking in the door with the real things disguised as fakes (although as Aurora tells us, that’s hardly the only way to get guns and gas into a theater) and from the question of where they put them once the screening starts. But it does make me pretty sad to think that theaters would start banning costumes altogether. Whatever a lone murderer does, the impulse to play, and dress up, and pay creative homage to culture you love is not the problem here.
AMC has clarified their policy: they’re just going to ban “face-concealing masks” and prop weapons. I understand the desire to make folks feel comfortable at screenings, but I hope with time, they’ll be able to relax on any costume elements.