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Regal Cinemas To Check Bags Upon Entry Into Movie Theaters


If you plan on seeing a movie, plan on the possibility of having your bag checked. Theater chain Regal Entertainment Group has updated its website to cite security issues which have become, as the company says, a daily part of our lives in America. Regal owns more than 560 theaters nationwide. NPR's Andrew Limbong visited one of them near our studios.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: There are a bunch of laminated signs inside the Regal Cinema's Gallery Place in Washington, D.C. They say "for safety and comfort of all our guests, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to entry to this facility." Just to be clear, the theater group has always reserved the right to check bags, you know, for outside food and drinks. But now they're checking every bag and backpack at that place where they take your ticket. Andre Smith, associate manager at this theater, says the new policy started two weeks ago. What happens if you don't want your bag searched?

ANDRE SMITH: Probably apologize for inconvenience, and then we'll offer you a refund. Or you could always have us hold your bag for you.

LIMBONG: No specific incidents are cited for the policy change, but there was the shooting in Louisiana during a screening of "Trainwreck" back in July where two people, along with the shooter, died. And then there was the incident in Tennessee this month where a man attacked customers with an ax and pepper spray. In the theater since they started the searches, they've only found the usual contraband.

SMITH: Just a lot of food that people try to sneak in.

LIMBONG: Regal's corporate offices did not respond to requests for comment, but the company's website says "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." Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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