NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man’s bizarre behavior at a Saturday night showing of ‘La La Land’ prompted a stampede toward the exits of a theater at the Regal Cinemas in Union Square Saturday night.
Folks who bought tickets to the showing are complaining that the cinema didn’t handle the incident properly.
Video posted to social media shows movie-goers searching for their belongings under seats and in the aisles.
A short time beforehand, about 200 people went stampeding towards the exits after eyewitnesses say a man holding a cup and a bag walked up to the center of the movie screen and turned around slowly while mumbling to himself.
“Popcorn started flying, candy bars went flying through the air, people were jumping over their seats,” said movie-goer Ben Gilbert who was sitting in the fourth row Saturday night.
On Twitter, one woman said it was her “worst nightmare” and for about 30 seconds she thought she was going to die.
Witnesses say they never saw a gun and apparently the man ran away with the crowd.
Customers at the theater complained that management wasn’t even aware of what was happening.
“People were angry and upset and I think it would’ve been solved, I think with a little leadership from the management there,” said Gilbert.
Police say the man had bought a ticket for a different movie.
Security expert Bill Stanton tells CBS2’s Jessica Borg that in general movie theaters have to up their protocols by having “what-if” scenarios with their staff.
“They need to better educate their work staff and security and consider having security personnel on location,” he said.
The movie-goers say they were offered a refund for their ordeal.
Regal Cinemas has not responded to CBS2’s request for comment.