US cinemas ban ‘Star Wars’ masks and lightsabers from ‘The Force Awakens’ screenings

The AMC and Cinemark chains have both banned masks, with Cinemark prohibiting lightsabers too

Two leading US cinema chains, AMC and Cinemark, have banned Star Wars fans from wearing masks to screenings of J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens.

Cinemark, the third-largest chain in the US, has also prohibited fans from bringing lightsabers and blasters into screenings of the new Star Wars movie.

Star Wars costumes are welcome. However, no face coverings, face paint, or simulated weapons (including lightsabers/blasters) will be allowed in the building,” the chain explains in posters advertising the film – as one fan highlighted posted on Twitter.

AMC, the second-largest chain in the US, will allow lightsabers into screenings provided they are switched off, but has banned blasters as well as Star Wars masks and face paint.

As Entertainment Weekly first spotted, the chain explains on its website: “AMC does not permit weapons or items that would make other guests feel uncomfortable or detract from the movie-going experience. Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks. In short, bring your lightsaber, turn it off during the movie, and leave the blaster and Darth Vader mask at home.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set for release in the UK on December 17 and in the US a day later. It takes place 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi though specific plot details are being kept tightly under the wraps. The film’s script was penned by director J.J. Abrams, Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt and Star Wars franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan.

Alongside Daisy Ridley and the returning trio of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, the film’s cast also includes Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and Andy Serkis. Meanwhile, it has recently emerged that the film will feature a character apparently named after a Beastie Boys album.

Hamill’s character Luke Skywalker has been conspicuously absent from recent promos for the movie, a state of affairs which Abrams recently admitted is “no accident”.