Staying Safe at the Movies

September 22, 2023

If you're like us, you hesitate to go to the movies these days. Sometimes we still like to be transported to a new world, but safety concerns always linger in our minds.

empty modern movie cinema

It’s essential to be aware of potential risks, and how to minimize them, so you can simply enjoy your cinematic experience. Morris, one of our Ambassadors, shares some great advice for staying safe when you're at a movie theatre in one of his Mojo Minutes:


Here are some more tips to help you stay safe at the movie theatre:

  1. Be vigilant & practice good situational awareness
  2. Prepare for emergencies
  3. Keep your cell phone handy
  4. Park in a well-lit parking lot
  5. Let your family and friends know where you are
  6. Avoid midnight showings


Be Vigilant and Practice Good Situational Awareness

We’ve said it before and we’re going to say it again. Situational awareness is the single most important thing you can do to stay safe and reduce the chances of finding yourself in a threatening situation. 

  1. Be aware of your surroundings: pay attention to who is sitting around you and what’s going on in the aisleways. If you see something suspicious, report it to security immediately. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable remove yourself from the situation. 
  2. Arrive early: arriving before the lights have dimmed gives you the ability to look around and identify any potential threats. You should also use this time to locate the exits, both in the theatre itself, and the building in general. 
  3. Keep your belongings close: never put your purse or other valuables on the floor or under your seat. Always keep them by your side or on your lap. It only takes a thief a few seconds to grab your bag and run – often without you knowing.
  4. Trust your instincts: if something doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut and leave the theatre

Prepare for Emergencies

Although it’s something we don’t want to think about, preparing and planning for the possibility of finding yourself in an emergency situation is an important step in keeping yourself safe and avoiding harm.

Take a few moments to plan out different scenarios and the actions you would take in the event an emergency was to happen. It’s a lot easier to plan in advance than try to wing it in the midst of adrenaline and fear. When you arrive at the movie theatre, look around and identify the nearest exits or places you would hide in the event you aren’t able to reach the exits safely. 

dark movie theatre

If you are with your family or friends, establish an emergency meeting place in the event you get separated and make sure your children know how to reach you if it becomes necessary.

Keep Your Cell Phone Handy

We’ve probably all heard the announcement – “cell phone usage is not allowed. Please put away your cell phones during the movie.” Just because they say cell phones aren’t allowed doesn’t mean you have to tuck them away in your purse or bag. Putting your cell phone on silent or vibrate and keeping it handy means it will be easier to call someone in the event of an emergency or in the event someone needs to reach you. 

Park in a Well-Lit Area

Parking lots, particularly at night, are a hotbed for criminal activity. When you go to the movies, make sure you park in a well-lit area preferably close to the movie theatre entrance. A well-lit parking area will also help you see your surroundings and assess if there are any potential threats. Never unlock your doors until you are sure that there are no threats. 

parking lot at night with street light

10% of all violent crimes occur in parking lots and garages at night. This is because it is easy to surprise someone and get away without being seen or caught. Find more safety tips in our article on parking garage safety.

Let Your Family and Friends Know

Particularly if you’re going alone, it is important to let your family or friends know where you’re going to be and what time to expect you home. Consider setting up a safety word with your family and friends, allowing you to easily text or call with a single word meaning to send help immediately. Many people choose to use their phone to share their location, even temporarily, as a precaution.

Avoid Midnight Showings

Midnight showings can be a lot of fun particularly if you and your friends have been waiting for what seems like decades for the next installment of your favorite movie series to come out – you know who you are!

people watching a movie in a dark theatre

However, it is important to be aware of the dangers that come with them. Most criminal activity happens at night when it’s dark and easy to get away. These midnight showings also generate larger, more excitable crowds.

As is always the case, make sure you are familiar with your surroundings and the potential threats around you. If you are really set on going to a midnight showing, make sure you’re in a group and not alone. 

Consider Personal Protection Gear

Personal protection gear, like our Everyday Armor T-Shirt or bulletproof backpack inserts, are becoming more and more common these days. While you may think some of it is going overboard, you’d be surprised by just how many people are carrying or wearing personal protection gear. It's like a seatbelt - you may not need it, but you'll be glad you were wearing it if you do.

Here are just a few ideas of personal protection gear you may want to consider:

  1. Pepper spray (make sure to use it only in extreme circumstances)
  2. Personal safety alarm
  3. Bulletproof vest or bag insert
  4. Flashlight

Staying safe at the movie theatre is important for everyone to remember. Being aware of your surroundings, checking in with staff members, and following posted guidelines can help ensure an enjoyable experience that's free from any potential hazards. With these tips in mind, you should be able to relax and enjoy the show without worrying about your safety or the safety of those around you.

Check out our complete safety guide to learn more tips for other everyday locations!


Written by Emily Johnson

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