Promenade Cinema offers new kind of movie experience for familie - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Promenade Cinema offers new kind of movie experience for families


When you go to the movies, you probably expect dark lighting and loud noises, but this kind of environment isn't always good for children, which is why Promenade Cinema is offering a different kind of movie-going experience.

"A 'sensory friendly' movie is one where the lights are a little brighter and the sound is a little quieter, just to make it a more comfortable environment for those on the autism spectrum or with other disorders," Main Street Theaters Spokesperson Andrea Barstow said.

Movie theater employees said the idea came from a Nebraska mother with an autistic son.

"From her comment, we were able to add it to three of our locations. So, it was just one mom asking, so I think that was the really cool part," Barstow said.

Amber Kollbaum's 4-year-old son, Liam, falls on the autism spectrum. She said sometimes it's a challenge taking him to the movies.

Liam loves going to movies, but we have a hard time because people don't understand him while he's watching a movie, he gets very excited. He'll jump up and down and make noises, so it's hard to go to a typical movie and not be the spectacle," Kollbaum said.

But, Kollbaum says the adjustments in the "sensory friendly" version of Saturday's showing of "The Lego Movie" will be a better experience for her son and the entire family.

I think Liam will enjoy it the same amount. I think we'll enjoy it more because the other parents that will be here will understand because they'll have kids that are similar, so we won't have to feel like we're being watched," Kollbaum said.

The special features also attract families without children on the autism spectrum. Jason Erickson said his two and a half-year-old son, Ethan, couldn't make it through his first movie experience because he was too young.

"The movie is based on kids. It's made for kids and to be able to bring your child out at pretty much any age. It makes the whole experience better for them," Erickson said.

And, employees said that's the goal of the "sensory friendly" movie program, to make a positive difference in the community.

If you missed today's showing, Sioux City's Promenade Cinema has scheduled two more "sensory friendly" movies.

The next one will be "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" at 10a.m. on March 15. And, April 19, they will be showing "Rio 2" at 10a.m.

Tickets for these films cost $6.50. Moviegoers with questions about the program can visit this website.

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