Still from the film BARBIE

Posted May 4, 2023

Sensory Friendly Screenings: Providing Inclusive Movie Experiences

July 26 Update: We will be scheduling monthly sensory friendly screenings beginning this fall. Stay tuned for details.

Movies are a great way to escape reality and immerse yourself in a different world. For many, going to the cinema is an enjoyable and exciting experience. But for some, it can be an overwhelming and distressing ordeal due to sensory sensitivities. That’s where sensory friendly screenings come in.

We are piloting sensory friendly screenings that cater to the needs of individuals who may find traditional moviegoing overwhelming. These screenings provide a safe and welcoming environment where folks can enjoy movies without feeling anxious or overstimulated.

So, what exactly is a sensory friendly screening? A sensory friendly screening takes into account the sensory needs of certain individuals, including those on the autism spectrum. The lights are turned up, the sound is turned down, and there are no trailers or advertisements before the movie starts. The audience is encouraged to move around, talk, or make noise as needed, creating an accepting and accommodating environment where everyone can feel comfortable and enjoy the moviegoing experience.

Why are sensory friendly screenings important? For individuals with sensory sensitivities, traditional movie screenings can be a challenging experience. The loud sounds, flashing lights, and unfamiliar environment can cause anxiety, stress, and discomfort. This can make it difficult for individuals and their families to enjoy the movie experience together. Sensory friendly screenings provide a safe space so everybody has the opportunity to enjoy the moviegoing experience in the cinema with their friends and family.

We are starting with three programs: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse on Monday, June 5 at 4:00, Asteroid City, Monday, June  26 at 5:00, and Barbie on July 24 at 4:45.

We believe in the power of film to bring people together and create meaningful experiences. Our sensory friendly screenings are just one way that we’re working to create an inclusive and welcoming community where everyone can enjoy the magic of movies. For more information, visit our Accessibility page. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to

The Jacob Burns Film Center is proud to receive generous support from:

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