Going to a movie can be a frightening experience for a child with autism or other special needs, with ear-splitting noises and pitch-dark theaters.
Goodrich Quality Theaters, which operates the Savoy 16, is starting a new program once a month that could help.
"Lights Up, Sound Down" will give families with children who have special needs a chance to enjoy their favorite movies in a "comfortable, sensory - friendly setting," with the lights turned up and volume turned down.
The company said it had received requests from autistic groups and played special screenings with positive feedback in theaters in Lafayette, Ind. and Canton, Mich.
"We are excited to expand this program to more locations," a company news release said.
The special screenings will be offered once a month for first-run movies, on Saturdays at 9:15 a.m.
The first wil be "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," on Oct. 2, followed by "Megamind" on Nov. 6 and "Yogi Bear" on Dec. 18. Dates and titles are subject to change, so check with the theater five days beforehand to make sure that movie has been booked.
The program is only available at nine locations, but they include the Savoy 16, 232 Burwash Ave., 355-3456.
Regular matinee prices apply. For more information visit the company's website.
The special screenings will likely appeal to parents of any young children, not just those with special needs. I've know more than one child who simply ran out of the theater when the movie got too loud and frightening, or simply refused to go because it was so dark. Turning the lights up and the sound down might make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.