The Dark Side was apparently in force at a Vancouver movie theatre Thursday, where a dispute over a cellphone allegedly led to a man being punched in the face.
The aftermath of the incident, which took place at a 7:30 p.m. screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and was dubbed the Star Wars “freak out” on social media, was captured on video.
Joe Bond told Global News he and his wife were at the screening at Scotiabank theatre for their first date out together since they had their second child, when another fan appeared aggressive when asking staff how to find his seat.
That seat ended up being right next to the couple, he said.
Bond said he had a bad feeling about things when the man began yelling at another film-goer who had taken their phone out to apparently film the opening credits.
But he and his wife stayed on target until the film started, when he felt his phone buzz in his pocket.
“I thought I was getting a phone call from our babysitter,” said Bond.
“It was the first time my wife and I had been on a date with both our kids being looked after, so I pulled out my phone really discreetly to see if it was the babysitter calling, and it wasn’t so I put it back.”
It’s not clear if fear led to anger, or anger led to hatred, but Bond said that’s when the man seemed to slip over to the dark side.
“He just kind of lost it, he began yelling and screaming,” said Bond. “I told him to calm down, and he didn’t calm down, and then he hit me in the face.
“There was a lot of people filming the situation because it was pretty hilarious.”
In video of the aftermath, the theatre’s house lights are already up, and a man in a tie can be seen jabbing his finger at a jeering audience.
“I am a real Star Wars fan!” he exclaims to a shower of boos.
The crowd responds with a chorus of “Out, out, out!” as Cineplex staff begin to escort him from the theatre.
“Turn your phone off!” the man shouts as he pulls his cellphone from his pocket and waves it back at the crowd. “Use your f—ing heads! Welcome to the 21st century!
“I waited a God-damned year to see this!”
Staff then escort the man from the theatre as he continues to curse and the crowd heckles him.
A Cineplex spokesperson confirmed that one person was ejected from the screening. Ironically, the man’s complaint about the screening being disturbed resulted in the entire film being started over from the beginning.
“Luckily, the Force was strong with the Cineplex team who ended up rewinding the film for the remaining guests,” said Sarah Van Lange in an email.
“They got a round of applause out of appreciation from the fans!”
Vancouver police confirm they were called to the Scotiabank Theatre around 8 p.m. to deal with an allegedly unprovoked assault.
Police said when they arrived they were unable to locate the alleged puncher, but that they are reviewing CCTV footage and continue to investigate.