Louisiana Digital News

Do Movie Theaters Have Cameras? (Explained)


Empty cinema screen with audience


When you go to a movie theater, you expect the only camera in the room to be the one projecting the movie on the screen.

You may not think about other potential cameras in a movie theater.

However, with some tragedies and crimes occurring in movie theaters, you may wonder if theaters have increased their security by installing cameras.

Here’s what you need to know about whether movie theaters have cameras or not.


Do Movie Theaters Have Cameras?

Young people sitting at the cinema, watching a movie and eating pop corn, top view


Yes, movie theaters have cameras.

There are three threats that movie theaters try to subdue by having cameras in the theater.

These threats include:

  • Illegal filming
  • Sexual acts
  • Violence

Here are the ways cameras can stop the above threats.


1. Illegal Filming

Young guy looking focused, using his video camera for recording a pirated movie at the cinema


Cameras inside the auditoriums help dissuade piracy.

There are usually cameras either at the front of the room or in the back, above the audience.

The camera at the front sits at the top of the screen and views the audience head-on.

The camera at the back is usually above the projector and looks down on the audience.

Both are usually infrared cameras which allows them to see well in the dark.

They’re able to detect the flash of a camera’s light.

If someone is recording inside of the auditorium, the movie theater knows and can stop them.


2. Sexual Acts

 couple kissing at the cinema


Unfortunately, because of how dark it gets in the theater, some couples use the opportunity to go beyond kissing.

Not only are sexual acts unsanitary, but it’s disturbing to other guests.

Not to mention, there are also sometimes children in the theater, too.

To dissuade couples from getting too frisky, the movie theater has several cameras inside the auditorium.

Some theaters even have cameras at the corners of the room.

These further help the theater’s security teams keep a close eye on the guests to ensure no one is getting too handsy.

If they catch a couple, they can send someone to warn them or escort them out of the theater.


3. Violence

man and woman dislike the movie, leaving cinema auditorium during the session


While violence is rarer than pirating or PDA, it does happen.

A movie theater relies on its cameras in the auditoriums to ensure everyone is safe while the movie is playing.

They also have cameras in the hallways and the main ticket area.

This allows them to keep an eye on everything.

If a fight breaks out or if someone pulls out a gun, their security forces can take the appropriate action.

You’ll notice several cameras around the movie theater to ward off violence.


Do Movie Theaters Have Cameras In The Parking Lots?

Car parked in asphalt parking lot and empty space parking


Some movie theaters have cameras in their parking lots.

Because movie theater parking lots are sometimes low on traffic, they become a popular place for drug deals.

To prevent their parking lots from such use, some theaters put cameras in their parking lots.

This allows them to keep an eye on their parking lots.

If they see something suspicious, they can alert the police.

This also helps them improve the safety of their parking lots for their guests.

For example, it reduces the chances of car theft.

Car thieves are less likely to try and break into a car if they know they’re being watched.

It also reduces personal theft.

People are less likely to encounter someone trying to steal their purse or hold them up in the parking lot if there are cameras around.

Finally, the cameras help determine who was at fault if an accident occurs.

Because movie theater parking lots are sometimes abuzz with activity, drivers may not see people pulling out of their parking spaces.

As such, an accident occurs.

Since it was on private property, it’s usually handled between the two drivers.

The movie theater can offer to release the footage it had of the crash if a lawsuit follows.

While not all movie theaters have cameras in their parking lots, many of them do.


Do Movie Theaters Have Cameras In The Bathrooms?

public restroom


Since movie theaters have cameras in the auditoriums, you may also wonder if they have cameras in the bathroom.

No, movie theaters do not have cameras in the bathroom.

That’s because bathrooms are private areas for guests to relieve themselves.

Putting a camera in a bathroom is illegal.

That said, some movie theaters will put a camera right outside of the bathroom.

This enables them to check for any criminals following an incident report.

They can easily go through their recordings and try to find the face of the perpetrator.

Those who are inside the bathroom, however, can feel safe knowing that no one is watching them.


How Can You Tell If A Movie Theater Has Cameras?

CCTV Installation Wizard concept


If you’re sitting in a movie theater and you’re not sure if it has cameras or not, there’s a simple test you can perform.

All you need is your smartphone.

Open it to the camera and slowly pass it in front of you.

If there’s a camera, then you should see a light or a glare appear on your screen as it passes over the beam of light.

This indicates that there is an infrared camera in the room.

If they’ve hidden the camera somewhere or the camera is tiny, this method will still work since it will capture the light from the camera.

There are also several hidden camera apps that you can download which can make it easier to find a camera in a movie theater.

With these two methods, you can satisfy your suspicions over whether your movie theater has a camera in its auditorium or not.


Why Do Movie Theaters Have Cameras?

cinema hall


While having cameras at a store or in a bank may make sense, you may wonder why a movie theater has cameras around.

Here are a few reasons movie theaters have security cameras.


1. Dissuade Pirating

selective focus of people with video camera pirating in cinema


One of the main reasons that movie theaters have cameras is to dissuade pirating.

Movie theaters already have problems financially.

When someone pirates a film and then releases it online for free, it encourages people to watch it for free instead of going to a theater and paying for it.

This makes them lose out on business.

That’s money that they can’t afford to lose.

A way to stop losing money from piracy is to stop in the first place.

The best way that movie theaters can do that is to keep potential pirates from filming the movie.

Some movie theaters might hire guards to sit in the auditorium and keep an eye on the audience.

However, that can be disruptive to the audience’s experience.

It’s also difficult for the guard to see what’s going on in the room since it’s dark.

As such, the best way that movie theaters can stop pirates is to install cameras in the auditorium.

This enables them to look for lights that the cameras give off while they’re recording.

When the person in charge of watching the room sees the light, they can alert security.

The security guards will either enter the room and remove the pirate or they’ll wait for the movie to end before locating and taking the pirate.

Since piracy is a crime, the police will also get involved.


2. Audience Disturbances

man talking loud on mobile phone while watching movie at the cinema and disturbing audience


Movie theaters want to ensure that their guests can have the best experience possible.

A great experience is the only thing keeping them back.

Otherwise, they might go to another theater or even decide to wait until the movie comes out on streaming platforms to watch it.

To give their customers the best experience, movie theaters have to know what’s going on in the auditoriums.

For example, if there are claims of a rowdy child in one of the rooms, cameras can help determine whether those claims are correct or not.

They can even prevent the claims from occurring by spotting the rowdy child and taking care of the problem before it becomes a problem.

It also helps them ensure that everyone is behaving appropriately in the theater.

If a couple starts to engage in sexual behavior, the camera can spot them immediately.

A guard can come in and warn them or ask them to leave.

This ensures that the rest of the guests can watch the movie without feeling uncomfortable or offended.

Finally, the cameras also help them determine if there are any problems in the room.

If a projector stops working or if the sound isn’t correct, a camera can make an immediate note of it, and the workers can fix the problem.

Movie theaters use cameras to ensure the audience is having a great experience.


3. Threats Of Violence

Two adult bearded men are fighting in the street. Conflict, bullying, robbery.


A movie theater has cameras all around the building to record possible threats or acts of violence.

Whether it’s in the auditorium, the hallways, or the ticket area, their cameras can inform the security team when they need to act.

Someone might get into a fight over seats or their place in line.

Someone may just be bringing in some aggression from their personal life.

Whatever the reason, if an act of violence occurs, the movie theater has footage of it.

Besides being able to alert their security team to it, the footage is also helpful for police.

They can use the footage to determine who was at fault and prosecute accordingly.

Movie theaters want their locations to be safe places to come and enjoy movies.

A way to make them safe is to have security cameras in the auditoriums, hallways, and ticket offices of the theaters.

They make the workers aware of the situation, allow them to help the police gain information about the crime, and prevent the crime in the first place.

After all, criminals are less likely to commit a crime if they know someone is watching.


4. Dissuade Theft And Robbery



Movie theaters have their share of robberies.

Because not all movie theaters have security staff, they don’t have much in the way of dealing with robbers.

One way that movie theaters can dissuade robberies, however, is with security cameras.

Having cameras at the doors of the theater as well as behind the cashier prevents robberies because it makes the thief aware that the theater is watching them.

They may be able to get some money from the register, but if the camera sees them, then it’s only a matter of time before the police find them.

For many criminals, it isn’t worth the risk.

If you’re going to get caught, then it isn’t worth it.

As such, they’ll choose to find a different victim.

Cameras also help dissuade robberies that occur to their guests, too.

If someone has their purse or wallet stolen, the cameras can help determine who it was.

They can capture the person with the purse or wallet in their hand as they make their escape.

This footage can then go to the police who can try and find the criminal.

If there are visible cameras in the movie theater, it will also dissuade these robbers from preying on the guests.


5. Parking Lot Safety

Cars in the parking lot


Some movie theaters also have security cameras in the parking lot.

They’re usually easy to spot.

They’re either visible cameras attached to tall poles or inside of protective shells.

These cameras make a movie theater’s parking lot a safer place to be.

For one, it prevents car theft and robberies from occurring in the parking lot.

It’s also helpful for discouraging drug deals.

People are less likely to engage in drug deals if they know there’s a camera looking at them.

It’s only a matter of time before the police bust them for the drugs.

Having functioning lights in the parking lot further keeps it safe.

Finally, security cameras can also capture accidents that occur in the lot.

Whether it’s a car accident, a hit-and-run, or someone just falling on some ice, the camera picks it all up.

This footage is then useful for the police or to fend off lawsuits.


6. Keep Employees Honest

Buying the movie tickets. Young people waiting in line to buy the movie tickets


Sometimes a business will have a camera to protect its own assets from its employees.

If a movie theater suspects that an employee might be stealing from the register or committing some other crime, they’ll install cameras behind the concession counter and in the box office.

Not only is this useful for discouraging robberies, but it also keeps an eye on the employees.

If someone is stealing from the register, then the camera can capture the action.

The employee can then face their due punishment.

Some movie theaters might also put cameras in their storage areas.

If they want to ensure no one steals some of the food or other products, then the cameras can dissuade them from doing so.

If it happens anyway, the camera can take pictures of who it was and allow the company to take the appropriate action.

Sometimes movie theaters have security cameras to ensure their own staff is behaving as well.


What Kind Of Security Cameras Do Movie Theaters Use?

Technician worker installing video surveillance camera on wall


Movie theaters use a specific type of infrared camera in their darkened auditoriums.

Outside of the auditorium, they will use standard Closed Circuit TV cameras or something related.

Since the auditoriums are dark, however, the movie theater needs a specific type of camera that enables it to see in the dark.

To enable that, they use infrared cameras.

Infrared cameras give a black-and-white image that’s clear.

Most of these cameras are also PTZ cameras, which means they’re able to pan, zoom, and tilt.

This allows the person using the camera to focus on a specific part of the audience with ease.

If something or someone catches their eye, the camera operator can easily zoom and tilt the camera as needed to take a closer look at them.


Is It Legal For Movie Theaters To Have Cameras?

movie theater empty auditorium with seats


Yes, it is legal for movie theaters to have cameras inside of their auditoriums.

That’s because the auditorium is a public space.

The entire movie theater, besides the bathroom and employee areas, is public.

Since it’s a public area, the movie theater is within its rights to place cameras where it deems them necessary.



Many movie theaters have cameras in them, but it depends on the theater in question as to where they put those cameras.

Some will put cameras inside of their auditoriums to stop piracy.

Others will focus on providing better security for their guests by placing cameras throughout the theater and the parking lot.

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