Cinemark bans big bags in its theaters, citing security concerns

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Cinemark, the nation's third-largest movie theater chain says starting Thursday, filmgoers need to leave large bags behind.

The company cited the safety and security of its customers and employees in announcing the policy, which exempts medical and diaper bags, on its website. "Any bags or packages measuring larger than 12" x 12" x 6" will not be permitted into the theater," the company said, adding that it retains the right to inspect customers' bags. 

Word of the policy prompted an outcry among some consumers, who clearly viewed the ban as an effort to curb customers from bringing their own popcorn and candy into theaters.

Another consumer offered a more tongue-in-check reaction on social media, saying in a tweet that as a someone who'd successfully hidden "the best snacks" from her husband and kids for years, she took Cinemark's ban as a personal challenge.

Cinemark operates 533 theaters across the United States and in Latin America, according to its website.

The company's ban comes amid ongoing mass shootings in the United States, which include one in July 2012 in which 12 people were killed and 17 injured at a Cinemark-owned movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Victims of that shooting unsuccessfully sued the theater chain, arguing the company should have done more security-wise to prevent the attack. 

After the lawsuit, attorneys for Cinemark asked for the victims to pay nearly $700,000 in legal fees. The company's lawyers told a judge they needed the money to cover the costs of preserving evidence, retrieving and copying records, travel and other expenses, according to court documents. The company later dropped that request after victims agreed not to appeal the verdict, the Denver Post reported.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.