Disney Reportedly Bans Movie Theater Workers From Seeing Films For Free For Weeks

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AMC Theater seating

Credit: AMC

As Marvel Cinematic Universe fans rush to movie theaters for the premiere of Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (2022), current and former movie theater employees are speaking out against Disney’s strict policies surrounding their film releases.

Related: Marvel Fans Furious Over ‘Doctor Strange 2’ Leaks, “Not Watching” Movie Anymore

Dr. Strange
Image Copyright Marvel / Disney

According to multiple Twitter users, Disney allegedly insists that movie theaters do not allow their employees to view new films for free for the first few weeks after a project releases.

Twitter user Margaret “Molly” Rasberry (@RasberryRazz) started this conversation, writing that one of their favorite perks of working at a movie theater was the free tickets, but that they had to wait a month to see new Disney films unless they wanted to buy a full-price ticket sooner. They Tweeted:

One of the perks of working at the cinema are free movies except for Disney which it threatens to remove its movies from the theater if an employee sees one of their films during opening month for free. We had to wait a month or buy a ticket to see a Disney film. Pure greed.

Allegedly, Disney claims this is to avoid spoilers for their films, but the rule also applies to live-action remakes of classic Walt Disney Animation Studios films. From @RasberryRazz:

And the reasoning was spoilers. Yes, including their Disney remakes.

Related: Kevin Feige Admits Marvel Spoiled “Too Much” of ‘Doctor Strange 2’

It is worth noting, however, that live-action renditions — including Aladdin (2019) and Beauty and the Beast (2017) — often feature new sequences and songs that were not included in the original animated versions.

Frank Oz as Yoda
Credit: Lucasfilm

Reportedly, the ban on seeing films early for free includes both Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm propertiesTwitter user Jeannie Stewart (@vamputee) claims that Disney made movie theater employees wait a month to see Star Wars films, presumably when the sequel trilogy released:

Yes and no. Cast passes generally have a restriction on them. Usually two weeks but Disney has been known to go a month. (Star Wars usually)

This user, however, alleges that movie theater workers do not generally have to wait a full month in order to see films.

@RasberryRazz reported that their theater almost got in trouble after an usher got a free ticket to Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, not realizing the ban on free access to Disney movies applied to that film. They Tweeted:
And we almost got into big trouble when one of the ushers got a free ticket to Civil War cause we didn’t realize that was the no free tickets nto a Disney film for a month at first. Disney apparently sent us a warning. They are petty…

It is, however, important to remember that Disney has not confirmed this policy exists and the alleged warning has not been publicly shared online.

Per the Twitter users who were discussing the situation, the “ban” mainly applies at larger chain theaters. @RasberryRazz reported not having issues with Disney until their independently-owned theater was purchased by the chain, Cinemark:

Pretty recent at least. When the theater was independent it wasn’t an issue but the owners sold it to cinemark and that changed everything for the worst. 

Another user, Rage (@Addilemonade), reported a similar experience with Disney films:

We used to have employee screenings after-hours when I worked at a theater but we could never do any Disney – because God forbid 50 underpaid college kids see The Lion King for free

Twitter user Lego Stobie Wars (@Stobuscus) was just one of many others to agree. They wrote:

I don’t know what I’m legally allowed to say but Disney was one of the companies that got mad if they heard back about staff getting free access to their films early on 

Some users wondered how Disney could monitor who was getting to see their films for free and whether it was logistically possible for them to crack down on any theater that offered its employees complimentary tickets to Disney movies. @RasberryRazz explained that it’s easily monitored through digital ticketing and assigned seating and ushers who confirmed that no one snuck into the films. Their tweet:

Assigned seating and ushers having to check to make sure that employees didn’t sneak in

Related: Sam Raimi Reveals He Cut A LOT From ‘Doctor Strange 2’

Managers reportedly also keep an eye on ushers, ensuring they don’t let any of their fellow employees watch free Disney films. Twitter user Erin (@whiiteness) wrote:

It’s not the coworkers, it’s the managers standing around watching us like prey

Again, please note that Disney hasn’t commented on these allegations and offers no public information about banning movie theater employees from viewing their new releases early on. Inside the Magic will keep you updated if Disney provides any comments.

Do you think movie theater employees should be able to see new releases from the Walt Disney Company for free? Let us know in the comments. 

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