A message played during trailers at AMC Theatres warns movie-goers to watch out for “any suspiciously strange characters or bad agendas,” and asks patrons to alert theater staff if they encounter them.
The message is especially timely after a string of several theater shootings over the last several years, the most recent coming last week when two people were killed and nine injured at a screening of Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana.
And the brief warning appears to be resonating with audiences.
“I think AMC is doing an awesome job because we should be protecting our people when they come and they should be feeling safe,” movie-goer Regina Law told Orlando news station WKMG.
“It’s a good message to send because there has been a lot of problems with movie theater shootings and stuff,” added Brittany Cavallo.
But while the message may seem more important than ever in light of recent shootings, AMC Theatres public relations director Ryan Noonan told Breitbart News that the messages have been running for some time.
“They’re not new,” Noonan said. “They’ve been around for a couple years, so it’s not a new thing.”
Noonan added that he couldn’t remember whether the messages began airing before or after gunman James Holmes murdered 12 people and injured dozens of others at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado in 2012.
But the messages appear to be part of the conversation surrounding increased security at movie theaters nationwide.
As a matter of policy, Noonan would not comment on any steps AMC has or may have taken to increase security at its theaters.
But security expert Jim Davis told USA Today that movie theaters across the country are undoubtedly looking at ways to ramp up security in light of recent events.
“There is no question in my mind that there are meetings going on as we speak, talking about improving security and associated liability,” Davis told the paper. “I think it will take time to happen. By necessity now – from a liability standpoint, movie theaters are going to have to step up.”
One “bright spot” for theaters in the wake of these tragedies: movie attendance (and box office revenue) doesn’t appear to have been affected by last week’s horrific incident.