Parents were left furious after an audience of young children were shown horror trailers by accident before a screening of the Peppa Pig film, Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun.
Customers at the Empire Cinema in Ipswich said that children were in tears as clips for the Blumhouse horror Ma and superhero-horror crossover Brightburn were shown on screen.
Children in the audience were exposed to the sight of dead bodies, some sexual violence and a man wearing a disturbing mask in Brightburn.
Charlie Jones, a BBC journalist who was at the screening, said that after seeing the trailers, her daughter, who is two and was going to the cinema for the first time, was ‘subdued’.
Jones was also with her 10-month old son Fred.
“Normally I would expect her to be singing and dancing when watching something like [Peppa Pig] but she was just really subdued,” she told BBC News.
“I tried to cover her eyes during the trailers and told her they were silly films for mummies and daddies, but there were lots of kids crying and she was very confused and started crying too.”
A spokesperson for Empire Cinemas said: “As soon as the staff on site were made aware of the situation, the programme was stopped and trailers were taken off-screen immediately.
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“We do sincerely apologise for this and for any distress caused and will be reviewing our internal procedures to ascertain how this came to be.”
Showing horror trailers prior to children’s movies has become a semi-regular occurrence as cinemas embrace increasing automation.
A similar incident occurred at a Cineworld cinema in Didcot, Oxfordshire, prior to the Angry Birds movie, ‘traumatising’ the young viewers with the trailer for the movie The Bye Bye Man.