Additionally, black patrons must be accompanied by white ticket buyers. "Accusations of racism are absurd," a Cinemark spokesman tells the Pitch. "We just think our adult patrons are better served when they can see hilarious cultural differences firsthand, like in the hit movie Bringing Down the House."
Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti applauds the decision. "Many baby boomers and seniors are still viable ticket buyers, but most modern filmgoers don't like to see movies in their company. All that hissing back and forth: 'What's he doing?' and 'What did she say?' and 'What did you say?'"
"Why should a fifty-year-old see Hulk?" adds the Cinemark representative. "He should be at the opera instead."
Not so, says a spokeswoman for the Lyric Opera. "We count on movies like Hulk to keep middle-aged patrons from overrunning our audiences. The Palace's decision represents a threat to our vital young season-ticket holders."
Movie consultant Cole Davis explains that a theater patron likely to rip chair fabric, fall into a promotional display or spill a 64-ounce drink has an average age of 53. And with the advent of stadium seating, cinema chains have seen their insurance premiums skyrocket.
"Stadium seating killed my grandmother," says Nancy Simon, who successfully sued the Hollywood Family Funhouse theater chain in 1999 after 91-year-old Trudy Simon tumbled 47 inches down a staircase to her death. Hollywood Family emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year as American Pie Cinemas, admitting only male patrons ages 16 to 24 and female patrons ages 13 to 40.
Police made one arrest after the Palace's announcement. A 54-year-old woman boxed the ears of a 37-year-old man who pointed to a sign outlining the new policy and said, "See that? Stay home and watch Bladder Control II: Full Throttle."