Can You Bring a Backpack Into a Movie Theater (August 2023)

Are backpacks allowed in movie theaters? Short answer, it depends. Long answer, well read on. If you are like me who cannot live without a backpack, then you must be thinking, can you bring a backpack into a movie theater?

I take a backpack everywhere, especially my North Face backpack, and movie theaters are of course no exception. Just took a backpack into a movie few hours ago and the staff barely glanced at me. I think it really depends on where you see the movie. Some places are very strict about backpacks. But many just don’t care (or the current staff don’t care).

Bring a sweater and another large item, if you’re worried about being searched. Put the large item on top of your snacks, and the sweater on top of that. When they open it, they’ll move the sweater but not the large item 99% of the time. This is my personal experience.

Safety and Security Concerns

This is number 1 reason why some movie theaters are hesitant to allow backpacks. Some theaters such as AMC does not have a company-wide policy on backpacks. Others, such as Cinemark doesn’t allow you to bring large backpacks. They have defined specification as to which backpack size can you bring into a movie theater. If your backpack size is larger than 12″ X 12″ X 6″ then it is not allowed. But if they contain essential items such as medical equipment and diaper bags for customers with small children.

On the other hand, like I said AMC doesn’t have a formal policy. But they do allow individual theater managers to choose whether to check backpacks or not. I have been to some AMC theaters where employees searched my backpack, while in others they just glanced at it.

Similarly, Regal says backpacks, bags and packages are subject to inspection, so they are kind of like following AMC’s policy. I remember one Regal theater (forgot which one as it was long time ago) where they initially told me that I cannot bring a backpack into movie theater as I was entering.

It is important to always be respectful of a theater’s rules, because their policies are enacted for your own safety and the safety of others.

Backpacks and movie theaters go together like peas and carrots, right? Wrong! Despite your belief that a backpack is a totally normal thing to lug into a darkened cinema, the teen working minimum wage will most certainly ask you to return that massively inconvenient carryall to your vehicle. Movie theaters hate fun and practicality almost as much as they hate people sneaking in outside snacks. Backpacks could be filled with contraband like rightly-priced candy and homemade sandwiches that won’t require you to take out a second mortgage.

So, there’s your answer on can you bring backpack to movie theater.

— Can you bring a backpack to a movie theater

Food Concerns

There is a famous saying movie theaters are not in the movie business, they are in the candy business.

Once I read research where it said that movie theater Popcorn costs more per ounce than Fillet Mignon. The price of Popcorn is more than 1200% higher than its production costs. Let’s be honest. Movie theaters are in the business of making money, so they charge exorbitant amount for the food they are selling. That’s how they earn money apart from the ticket that you buy. In fact, ticket price doesn’t bring them much revenue. That’s why they don’t want you to bring your own food from outside and for this reason they may dislike someone with a backpack.

I have worked in movie theaters for a few years so this is how it goes:

  • Weeks 1-2 of a new show the ticket prices are around 80-90% to the distributer and the remainder goes to the theater. On average it works out to about $1 per ticket revenue for the theater.
  • Week 3-4 the theater can expect a return of about 25-35% of the ticket cost.
  • After the first month you can usually negotiate a 50/50 deal or better. One of the best I ever saw was Inception which we had in our last auditorium until it came out on DVD. We were getting 90% of the ticket on it after the 3rd month in the theater. That one movie averaging 10-20 tickets per show was making us more money than any of the new releases we’d dump after 2-3 weeks.

AMC again doesn’t have a formal policy in this regard that they do not outright reject outside food items, but it varies from location to location where one employee may check your backpack for food items while others don’t.

If you’re a female, the best thing to do if you think they’re going to search your bag is to put your snacks and goodies at the bottom and cover them with an absurd amount of pads and tampons. One of my friends told me this trick. They get really embarrassed, apologizes, and waves me on without even really checking my backpack.

Can you bring a backpack to the movies? Yes, but don’t be surprised if you’re asked to open it and show what’s inside. This is just a security measure.

Do movie theaters allow backpacks

Can I bring a backpack to a movie theater? Whether or not movie theaters allow backpacks varies by theater chain and location. Some theaters have a blanket ban on backpacks, while others allow them as long as they are small and are checked by security. Still others allow backpacks but have size restrictions.

Here are some of the policies of major theater chains:

  • AMC: Backpacks are allowed, but they may be checked by security.
  • Regal: Backpacks are allowed, but they must be no larger than 16x16x6 inches.
  • Cinemark: Backpacks are not allowed.
  • Cineplex: Backpacks are allowed, but they must be no larger than 14x14x14 inches.

If you are unsure about the policy of a particular theater, it is always best to call ahead and ask.

In addition to the size restrictions, some theaters may also have other restrictions on what you can bring in your backpack. For example, some theaters may not allow backpacks that contain food or drinks, or that contain any prohibited items such as weapons or illegal drugs.

It is also important to note that even if a theater allows backpacks, they may still ask you to open your backpack and show them what is inside. This is for security reasons, and it is important to comply with their request.

If you are planning on bringing a backpack to a movie theater, it is a good idea to check the policy of the theater in advance. This will help you avoid any surprises and ensure that you are able to bring your backpack with you.

Most major movie theater chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark discourage backpacks and large bags from being brought into screening rooms. They may allow small purses or clutch bags.

— Backpack in movie theater

Does AMC allow backpacks

Can I bring a backpack into a movie theater AMC is the question most people ask. AMC Theaters generally allow backpacks, but they may be subject to inspection. This is due to security concerns following the tragic events of recent years. If you bring a backpack to an AMC Theater, be prepared to have it opened and checked by a staff member.

Here are some tips (to make it compliant with AMC backpack policy) for bringing a backpack to an AMC Theater:

  • Keep your backpack as small as possible.
  • Leave any unnecessary items at home, such as laptops or tablets.
  • Be prepared to have your backpack opened and checked by a staff member.
  • If you are asked to leave your backpack at the theater, do so without argument.


Can you bring backpacks into movie theaters is the question that everyone is looking answer for. It varies from theater to theater and location to location. It might even depend on the employee that is checking your backpack. May be his mood is off that day. Don’t bring large backpacks to be on the safe side as it will always raise eyebrows. Be nice and ask politely beforehand if you can bring a backpack into a movie theater and they might allow you.

Respect theaters policy and check their policy before going there. Also, if they, for whatever reason, ask to search your backpack. they need to advise you they may do this before you buy your ticket, as otherwise it would be denying you the entry that you paid for. If it’s not a condition you agreed to, then they can do nothing other than let you in or refund you. Some people say that it is in the T&C you agreed to by buying a ticket, but movie theaters don’t typically present you T&C. But yes, this is how they are usually able to get away with bag checks at stadiums/concerts.

Or if you are born with one leg like one of my friends. He had this hollowed-out prosthetic that he used to fill up with snacks whenever we saw a movie. You could hear them all rattling around but fuck me would any of the guys working at the cinema ask him to take it off.

I hope this article clears your question can you bring a backpack into a movie theater.


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