Sensory-Friendly Movies in New Jersey

1/23/12 - By

Updated January 16, 2013 Well, it's finally actual wintertime here in New Jersey and we're busy lining up all those indoor activities. But parents who have special needs children may find that this can present an additional challenge, since they must be cognizant of the sensory requirements of their child. Sudden noises, loud volume, and dark spaces may be overstimulating, so for these families, attending a movie in a theater isn't as simple as purchasing a ticket online.


AMC Theatres has addressed this important need by recently partnering with the Autism Society to bring monthly sensory-friendly family film screenings throughout the United States, including six theaters here in New Jersey. 

Currently, AMC Theatres is the only national theater chain that offers these sensory-friendly screenings. The company started these special events at the request of a Maryland mom, whose family was asked to leave a regular movie showing when her autistic seven-year-old daughter began twirling in her seat. The mom met with the theater manager and explained the situation, and soon AMC hosted its first sensory-friendly film in Columbia, MD. It sold out all 300 seats—in fact, some people were turned away. The demand was that high.

Today, AMC offers monthly sensory-friendly screenings at 152 theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. The movies are typically new releases shown on Saturday mornings. Each screening is also able to accommodate special dietary and attention needs, as are welcome to bring their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and previews and advertisements are eliminated. The lights are dimmed not turned off, so it's not that dark, and the surround sound is muted. Most importantly the AMC “Silence is Golden” Policy isn't enforced and all kids are welcome to sit and watch the movie or they can also get up, walk around, dance in the aisles or shout aloud. It truly is a safe and accepting environment for this audience to enjoy movies together as a family!

The six participating theaters in New Jersey are:

Visit AMC's website for a list of the 2012 sensory-friendly screenings and a complete listing of participating AMC Theatres.