The Marcus Wehrenberg Cinema in Cedar Rapids took to Facebook today with a post regarding a controversial new policy for minors attending movies at the theater in the evening.

They will now require an adult escort for all theater-goers under 18, even for movies without restricted ratings, starting at 6 p.m. or later.

Many are pointing to a current TikTok trend, called the #gentleminions trend. I needed some background on this trend and what I found out is that #gentleminions involves young men dressing up in suits to attend the new "Minions: The Rise of Gru" film. According to the New York Times, participants are also encouraged to accessorize with bananas, the Minions' favorite snack, or "hold their hands in a steeple pose" which is one of the Minions' favorite poses.

As far as the new Wehrenberg policy, proof of age will also now be required at the time of ticket purchase, and those under 18 not accompanied by a parent/guardian at least 25 years of age will be removed, with one exception: if you are under 25 and the parent of the child, you are able to be the chaperone.

In speaking by phone to an employee at the theater, I was simply told the policy is being implemented for "safety purposes for staff and patrons" due to "ongoing problems" regarding the behavior of many of those under 18. No further information was available.

A friend's daughter went to the theater Thursday night, prior to the policy going into effect, and said:

"We just watched minions yesterday at 9:25 pm, I bet it was because these kids in the theatre wouldn’t stop talking and left popcorn everywhere."

Other responses were as varied as you might expect:

"This doesn't even make sense so 10 19yr Olds can walk in but a 16 yr old with their 19 yr old sibling cannot go? The wording is so confusing and misleading. No one under 18 is allowed unless they have a parent or guardian over 25 but if 19 can go in without anyone aged 25, but a parent under the age of 25 can not take their young child to the theater? Also if you are 17 and are with your 18 yr old significant other you're out of luck, no movie for you!"

"Normally I would be against this but as someone who goes to this theater quite often, I understand why they are doing this. Sadly there are ALOT kids running around and acting fools in the theaters and in the halls. It sucks for those kids that are not a part of the issue but this has been an ongoing problem for a while now."

"The only problem I have with this is...what about the very mature young parents that could be 24 years old...they can't take their child to a movie after 6? And the punks who do choose to cause trouble, doesn't this leave it open for them to still enter the place after 6 pm and just go upstairs to the arcade and cause trouble without buying a "movie ticket?" That wouldn't eliminate the problems, I assume that is happening.

One final comment, which may incriminate the aforementioned #gentleminions trend:

"It's gotten outta hand. They usually have a cop at the theater and they still can't keep control of the theaters. I got hit by flying bananas and popcorn containers at a children's movie. The staff did nothing with all the kids screaming and running in and out of the theater. Either they do this and lose the kids' business or they let it get so bad that no one else will go."

As for me? I think it's sad it has come to this because again, a few bad apples shouldn't spoil the whole bunch. But, with other costs going up every day, a night at the movies is now more than ever a luxury. It's hard to justify spending your hard-earned money to be subjected to disruptive antics. At least one other person agrees.

"Good. I'm sick of my theater experiences ruined by misbehaving kids. This should be expanded though. I'm tired of people on their phones not getting kicked out either. And parents who can't control their kids being allowed to stay."

The policy will be in place until further notice.

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