Megaplex short on refunds movie crowd becomes unruly

January 21, 1998|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

An estimated 2,000 moviegoers turned unruly over the weekend at the new stadium-style movie theater complex in east Columbia.

Howard County police said an electrical problem Saturday afternoon at the 14-screen United Artists Theatre off Snowden River Parkway triggered fire alarms, causing the building to be evacuated. Once the alarms were reset, movie officials realized the projectors were not working.

United Artists officials began to give refunds or movie passes to patrons, but they quickly ran out of both, police said.

"They had a large crowd that was becoming disorderly because they ran out of cash and passes," said police spokesman Steven E. Keller. "People were upset."

Police stopped traffic from entering the parking lot for about 90 minutes, Keller said.

United Artists officials refused to comment on the incident and would not say how many tickets they refunded.

No arrests were made, police said.

The 58,000-square-foot theater complex is one of a half-dozen megaplexes coming in the next few years to the Baltimore area.

Pub Date: 1/21/98

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