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Movie Tavern changes age policy and now your teen can watch a PG-13 film unattended

Movie Tavern is now allowing guests 16 and younger to watch shows starting before 5:30 p.m. without an adult guardian.
Movie Tavern is now allowing guests 16 and younger to watch shows starting before 5:30 p.m. without an adult guardian. Star-Telegram archives

Movie Tavern launched its new age policy Thursday in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Dallas-based theater chain is now allowing guests 16 and younger to watch shows starting before 5:30 p.m. without an adult guardian. Movie Tavern previously required children 16 and younger to be accompanied by a parent or guardian age 21 or older.

The theater rolled out its new policy in DFW after testing it in other markets around the country, according to a news release. The release also said the theater offered a “family-friendly environment.”

The Dallas-Fort Worth theaters impacted by the policy change are the West 7th, Ridgmar, Hulen, Bedford and Green Oaks locations.

In addition, children ages 6 and younger “may enjoy all movies except for R-rated features,” according to Movie Tavern’s web site.

Why did Movie Tavern make the policy change?

“This age policy change originated when Movie Tavern started to receive feedback from parents hoping to drop off their children at the movies,” Movie Tavern said a in an e-mailed statement to the Star-Telegram. “With this feedback, Movie Tavern tested this new age policy at its Kentucky, Virginia and Colorado theaters and it was well received. With this age policy change, Movie Tavern is also hoping to expand its reach.”

So, does this mean my 6-year-old could watch the PG-13-rated Suicide Squad unattended with a presumably older audience? Why wasn’t there an age range set for teens only, say 13-16?

Movie Tavern says “there is no set age where guests 16 and under will be cut-off. However, this is targeted toward guests old enough for their parents to feel comfortable dropping them off at the movies (teenagers).”

Regardless of the age, Movie Tavern says it will continue to adhere to all MPAA guidelines.

As a parent, I personally wouldn’t allow kids younger than 12 to be left unattended at a movie theater even in the middle of the day. However, I think the policy is a great option for mature teenage audiences.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed adults with under-age children attend R-rated movies, which I thought was inappropriate for the kids’ age level. So, the broad age policy may present an issue for parents who just want to use it as a babysitting option to go run errands.

You would think that any parent in their right mind would NOT leave their children younger than 10 unattended in a dark, movie theater even before 5:30 p.m., right?

Many venues in the DFW area have “parents’ night out” programs, where you leave children — usually tweens and teens — for a few hours to hang out and have fun. Even at those programs, there are adult employees supervising the activities.

It will be interesting to see if parents take advantage of this no-babysitting option.

Please let me know what you think of the new age policy in the comments section.

Maricar Estrella blogs at MariMoments.com Find her on Twitter @mymarimoments + Facebook.com/mymarimoments

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