Sensory Friendly Films
Get up, dance, walk, shout, or sing!
Don’t miss the next Sensory Friendly Film!
Most showings occur the second and fourth Tuesday and Saturday
Ticket costs vary depending on location and
can be purchased online or at a participating AMC location.
In 2007, AMC Theatres (AMC) and the Autism Society teamed up to offer the “Sensory Friendly Films” program as a special opportunity for individuals living with autism and others to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis. In order to provide a more accepting and comfortable setting for individuals on the autism spectrum, the movie auditorium keeps their lights turned slightly up (dim lights will remain on) and the sound turned slightly down. Because some have strict, special dietary needs, families are permitted to bring their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks from home.
Additionally, audience members are welcome to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden” policy will not be enforced unless the safety of the audience is in question. Being able to relax and enjoy quality family time without worrying if someone will complain or be disturbed by noise of movement is a wonderful experience. Many others, not on the autism spectrum, also enjoy Sensory Friendly Films – it’s a great opportunity for families to meet, siblings of children with autism to get to know other kids, and anyone to enjoy a movie in a climate of acceptance and understanding.
For the best information about current and upcoming AMC Sensory Friendly Films please visit the AMC website directly. Sensory Friendly Films are offered four times a month at many locations nationwide.
Did you go to a Sensory Friendly Flim? Tell us what you thought!
History of Sensory Friendly Films
The concept of Sensory Friendly Films was born in 2007, when Marianne Ross, of Elkridge Maryland took her young daughter, Meaghan, to a matinee (at another theater chain) to see a movie starring one of her most beloved actors. She intentionally picked an early showing figuring there would be fewer people there, but when Meaghan, at that time seven years old, saw her main man on the big screen she began to flap her hands, dance, twirl and jump up and down. Unfortunately a few other movie-goers complained to staff, and the manager asked the Ross’ to leave.
Marianne was frustrated, upset, and a bit angry – Meaghan was so happy and the movie-going experience ended up being so negative. It occurred to her that there were probably a lot of people who found themselves in a similar situation – or worse yet, didn’t even try to go see a movie for fear of the possible outcomes. The next day Marianne called her local AMC Theatre in Columbia Maryland. She asked if Dan Harris, the manager, would be willing to set up a special screening for children on the autism spectrum. Harris, not only took Marianne up on her suggestions, he made some additional adaptations to make the movie even more sensory-friendly. Marianne spread the word about the upcoming screening through her local Autism Society Affiliate and amazingly, 300 people showed up and they had to turn some people away becuase there was no more room in the movie auditorium.
Dan Harris didn’t stop there – he held three additional monthly sensory-friendly movies and contacted AMC’s headquarters to share the idea. At the corporate office Community-Relations Manager, Cindy Huffstickler, thought the concept was excellent and was surprised no one had thought of it before. Cindy contacted the Autism Society of America and the two companies joined forces and mobilized affiliates and theatres in towns all around the country. Those initial national test screenings proved to be just as successful as that first Maryland screening. And the rest, as they say, is history.