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Regal bans violent videos from theaters

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Regal Entertainment Group, the country's largest movie theater circuit, is banning from its lobbies video games that contain graphic violence, obscenity or sexual behavior.

That's still OK for the movies, though.

"Regal Entertainment Group is committed to providing the highest quality entertainment experience for moviegoers of all ages," Regal CEO Mike Campbell said Friday. "Placement of certain video games is not conducive to the overall environment we strive to achieve."

The movie theater conglomerate, based in Knoxville, Tenn., owns and operates 562 multiplexes in 39 states as Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, Edwards Theatres and Hoyts Cinemas.

Company spokesman Dick Westerling said video arcade games are in all of the company's theaters and that the new rules against offensive games stem from complaints from parents.

"There are some games that really push the envelope with content that isn't suitable for common areas," Westerling said. He refused to identify the banned games, but said content Regal finds unacceptable includes: graphic depictions of sexual behavior or nudity, violence toward law enforcement officers or figures of authority, obscene or foul language, and graphically violent character deaths.

Westerling conceded such subjects are found on many of Regal's 6,119 movie screens, but he said there's a separation between the lobby and the theaters, enforced by ushers.

"If you are going to see an R-rated movie, you have to be 17 or over or accompanied by an adult, so there is a little more formal screening," he said. The lobby is for "a family environment."