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Unsettling movie theater experience sparks "Movie with Max" event

by Dawn Grosvenor

Movie with Max

Sometimes our most challenging experiences bring about unexpected support and waves of positive change. For Emily Colson and her son, Max, this was certainly the case.

Max is 23 years old and he has autism. When he and his mom ventured to a movie theater this past December, Max grew frightened during the previews. This was not a shock to Emily; Max had experienced this before, and she had coping strategies in place for them to fall back on.

However, unfortunately, some fellow audience members were unpleasant to the mom and son before they even had a chance to return to a level of comfort. In the end, Emily and Max were forced to leave altogether before their movie started.

On her blog, Emily recounted the negative movie theater experience, and she received an outpouring of support from readers. It was someone close to home, though, who was inspired to take action.

A friend from church, Renee Walston was so impacted by the cruelty that Emily and Max experienced, that she decided to rent out a movie theater for Max and anyone else affected by autism or other disabilities.

At first, Renee rented out a small theater, in case the idea didn’t receive much of a response. As it turns out, Renee underestimated how much good she was doing. Since then, the original theater in the Boston area has sold out completely, and additional theaters have been rented out to accommodate more supportive movie-goers. On March 27, the event now called “Movie with Max” will provide safe spaces for enjoyable showings of Muppets Most Wanted.

For updates about the March 27 event, and hopefully more to come, make sure to follow Movie with Max on Facebook! Visit Emily’s blog for information about her book, Dancing with Max, and her speaking engagements. Read more about this story at The Patriot Ledger.

If you aren't in the Boston area, but you're looking for a sensory-friendly screening of Muppets Most Wanted, check out AMC's Sensory Friendly Films program! They are screening the film this Saturday, March 29 throughout the United States.

Photo courtesy of the Movie with Max Facebook page.


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