Moviegoer allegedly punched for using phone at 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'
VANCOUVER -- Chaos broke out at an opening-night screening of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" Thursday after a moviegoer allegedly punched a man for using his phone in the theatre.
The highly anticipated sequel had only been running a few minutes at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Vancouver when staff had to pause the screening to deal with the fracas.
Witness video captured at the event shows a man ranting about cellphone usage as he's escorted out of the theatre.
"I waited a God damned year for this and some [expletive] turned his phone on next to me," the unidentified man says in the video.
"Use your [expletive] heads ... you're [expletive] losers with your phones."
It doesn't appear the rest of the moviegoers were as upset by the etiquette breach. People can be heard booing and yelling at the man to "get out."
The crowd later breaks into applause and cheers when he's finally escorted out of the theatre.
Joe Bond, the man who was allegedly punched, said there was a good reason he felt compelled to check his phone: He and his wife had left their two young children – a baby and a four-year-old – with a babysitter so they could catch the movie.
"It was our first night with a babysitter looking after both kids," Bond told CTV News.
The baby was having trouble sleeping, so Bond and his wife were texting right up until the start of the movie to make sure everything was OK. At one point during the screening, Bond said he briefly pulled his phone out of his pocket, and his neighbour took notice.
"He lost it at me," Bond said. "I told him to calm down and if he doesn’t calm down then I was going to get somebody – and then he hit me in the face."
Bond said his neighbour already seemed to be irritated because of a person sitting a couple of rows in front of them who had recorded the opening crawl on his phone.
Vancouver police were called to the theatre but the man had already left.
"We were unable to locate the suspect," said Const. Tania Visintin. "Video footage of the theatre is being reviewed and an investigation is underway."
A spokesperson for Cineplex described the incident as "concerning."
"The safety and security of our employees and guests is always our top priority. If a police report is filed, we will do everything we can to assist with their investigation as well," said Sarah Van Lange.
Bond said the incident put an unfortunate damper on his movie date.
"Star Wars fans are very serious people, but I think this guy was on the next level," he said.
"The Rise of Skywalker" is the final installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and follows the storylines from "The Force Awakens" and "The Last Jedi."