Cinemas use ‘distractions’ to bypass food regulations: official

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–Several movie theaters have made unreasonable rules to restrict people from bringing food into theaters, said the Chairman of the Taipei Law and Regulation Commission (LRC) Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元) yesterday. If proven theaters may face a maximum fine of NT$1.5 million (US$50,000), stated Yeh. The law prescribes that movie theaters cannot restrict people from bringing food inside unless the food distracts other movie-goers. Many theaters were found to bypass the law by classifying a long list of food items as “distracting,” said Yeh. One cinema made crepes a prohibited item to bring into the theater, which is unreasonable according to Yeh.

The Ambassador Theatres (國賓戲院) prohibit bringing crunchy dry noodles, potato chips and tea eggs into the theaters, stating that these food items are smelly and eating them makes noise. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said that these reasons are not justifiable. The restriction over fruit with seeds and skin is also unjustifiable, said the department. Governor Cinemas’ (總督戲院) regulation forbidding people from bringing in ketchup in order to avoid messing up their carpet and seats is also unreasonable, the department said. According to the law, movie theaters also cannot restrict people from bringing in food that is sold by the cinema. Yeh found that one movie theater forbids people to bring hotdogs and sub sandwiches inside the theater while at the same time selling these same items. Unfriendly Cinemas According to the data of the LRC, the Ambassador Theatres (國賓戲院、影城) lists 37 items in some theaters and 43 items in others as being prohibited. The Ambassador Theatres are the most unfriendly toward their clients, Yeh said. Sun Cinemas (王牌日新大戲院) lists 22 items, while both VieShow Cinemas Taipei QSquare (台北京站威秀影城) and Shin Kong Cineplex (新光影城) lists 21 items.