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Local theater increases security for ‘Compton’ premier

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The production company behind “Straight Outta Compton” is ready to spend money to make sure moviegoers have a safe experience this weekend.

Universal Pictures is willing to reimburse any movie theater that feels the need to hire security this weekend.

The biopic follows the rise of rap group N.W.A. while also touching on police brutality and gang life. Those elements combined with recent theater shootings and racial tension across the U.S. prompted the offer.

Friday night at the Georgetown 14 Cinema on the west side, it was clear which flick had customers lining up.

“Straight Outta Compton,” said Larraine Harris.

“Straight Outta Compton,” echoed Michael James, with a smile. “I grew up liking N.W.A., that’s my era.”

And while they load up on food and drinks to watch the film, employees are making sure to watch them.

“If they don’t feel safe, they’re not going to have a good time,” said general manager Leigh Friedman. He said his theater has had a security team for years.

One person watches the door and checks bags, making sure people don’t sneak in snacks or anything illegal.

Another monitors the lobby and a third person cruises the parking lot.

“That’s why I come here, because they have security,” said Harris.

“When you have security here, you have less probability of an incident,” added Friedman.

Customers at Georgetown 14 have gotten used to seeing security, but not all theaters have the same presence. Those without had a chance to hire a crew and get reimbursed, but some people think the gesture sends the wrong message.

“That actually causes more tension,” said James. “Because you got in your mind ‘oh, they already said it’s going to be some trouble’ which it may not. It may, but it may not.”

At the end of the day, James still appreciated seeing security officers when he walked in. He feels it works as a deterrent if people entering the theater have bad intentions.

Harris agreed saying, “It didn’t matter if Straight Outta Compton came out, Trainwreck came out, Minions came out, you need security in theaters.”

Friedman said he isn’t sure if Universal will reimburse them for their security costs.

We reached out to Landmark Theaters and AMC Theaters to see if they hired any security this weekend but they didn’t want to comment.