'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Many theaters to limit costumes, props for premiere

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BENNINGTON, VT. — On Thursday, several local theaters will show advanced screenings of the latest chapter in the Star Wars franchise although patrons who want to attend dressed as their favorite characters are being asked by many theaters to leave the costumes at home.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is predicted to break box office records this weekend, and many area theaters are already beginning to sell out Thursday and Friday showings. However, after the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting in 2012, and more recent attacks of terrorism in Paris and San Bernardino, several of those theaters are rethinking past policies that have allowed guests to attend movie premieres in costume.

At the Regal Cinema at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, a manager, who asked to remain anonymous, said that no costumes or props would be allowed, for safety reasons.

At the Beacon Cinema, at 57 North St. in Pittsfield, costumes, such as Jedi robes, will be allowed, said a manager, but masks and props will not be allowed.

"We have no problem with costumes," she said, "I love to see people dressed up, but with things as they are in the world today, we need to do our part to keep our customers safe."

Bennington Cinema, on Northside Drive, will allow costumes and props, so long as they aren't a distraction to other customers.

At the North Adams Movieplex 8, an employee said they have allowed costumes and props in the past, but was unable to confirm with a manager whether that will still be the case. An emailed request to the theater for more information was not returned by deadline.

Even without costumes, area residents are expected to turn out in record numbers this weekend. Regal already has multiple theaters sold out for Thursday and Friday showings. The Beacon said that, as of Wednesday night, they had already sold more than 200 tickets for Thursday showings.

At Bennington Cinema, the Thursday showing at 7:30 p.m. is almost sold out.

"It's going to be big," said the Regal manager.

Matthew Jared Tucker, who responded to a post on The Eagle's Facebook page, said he was looking forward to seeing the movie, but would not be going in costume. "I am very much looking forward to seeing the film opening night," he said, "although I was too young to do so with the original trilogy, I did so with the prequel trilogy, and was featured in costume in the Berkshire Eagle! I won't be going in costume this time around — a proper Jedi costume is expensive, and there are rules, this time around, at many theaters prohibiting lightsabers and blasters. That said, I will be wearing my Rebel Alliance polo shirt, as a way of upscaling my Star Wars pride."

Not everyone will be rushing to theaters to see the new movie, however. Bennington resident Willy Jones, who said that his favorite Star Wars movies are the 1977 original and 1983's "Return of the Jedi," said he was unlikely to go see the new movie.

"I don't plan to attend," he said, "I saw 1977 and was in awe. The last three left me cold."

Another Eagle reader, Jer Gray, said that Disney's treatment of the "Expanded Universe," the dozens of books, comics and video games that filled out the Star Wars universe in the years following the completion of the original trilogy, as non-canon is unacceptable.

"I will not be seeing it, nor will I be seeing any of the new films under the Disney banner," he said, "Having grown up with the Expanded Universe books, comics, and games, I can't even describe the bitter disappointment I felt when Disney arbitrarily scrapped 20+ years of characters, stories, and events, in favor of a watered-down plot that, ironically, seems to be ripping off key pieces of the EU."

On Thursday, Regal will have showings at 7 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 10:35 p.m., 10:45 p.m., and 11 p.m. in 2D, and at 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 10:15 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. in 3D.

At the Beacon, there will be two standard showings, at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and three 3D showings, at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.

Bennington Cinemas will have three 2D showings, at 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., and 10:15 p.m., and two showings in 3D, at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.

The North Adams Movieplex will have five showings, three in 2D at 7 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11:55 p.m., and two in 3D at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Derek Carson can be reached at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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