A moviegoer ‘tried to pull a prank’ at an Austin movie theater over the weekend by releasing a live bat during a screening of the new Batman movie, with the ensuing pandemonium all captured on video posted to social media.
Staff were forced to pause the film during a premiere screening on Friday after reports of a bat flying around the theater.
In a short video clip posted on Twitter Saturday, attendees can be seen watching the animal excitedly as it flies from one end of the theater to the other repeatedly, likely seeking an exit.
In another, theater staff can be heard telling the audience how they plan to bait the wild animal in an effort to capture and remove it from the building.
‘We will use the projector to turn that light off (the movie screen) and I’m gonna turn all these lights off and try and get it to go into this lighted area (an exit),’ an employee tells the guests.
‘If you are uncomfortable being in the dark with a bat, please remove yourself now,’ the theater worker says as the crowd laughs nervously in response.
Scroll down for video
Pictured: A live bat, circled in red, flying around a Texas movie theater during the middle of a premiere screening of The Batman this weekend
The bat, pictured circled in red, was released as a part of a ‘prank,’ according to authorities. No one was injured as a result of the incident
Theater staff (pictured) speak to moviegoers after the live bat was released. ‘If you are uncomfortable being in the dark with a bat, please remove yourself now,’ one worker said
The moviegoer who filmed the wild incident, identified as Vincent Genovese on Twitter, said that although staff made several attempts to remove the bat from the theater, they were ultimately unsuccessful.
A spokesperson at Cinépolis, which owns the theater, told CBS Austin that the bat was released by a guest at the Moviehouse & Eatery movie theater in northwest Austin.
‘Local animal control was immediately contacted, and they have been overseeing the situation to ensure guest, associate and animal safety,’ spokeswoman Annelise Holyoak told the outlet.
‘To ensure a prank like this does not again occur, we’ve added additional security and are checking all bags upon guest entry.’
Although staff (above) made several attempts to remove the bat from the theater, they were ultimately unsuccessful in doing so
The Moviehouse & Eatery movie theater in northwest Austin (pictured) where the bat ‘prank’ took place
While the theater offered moviegoers a full refund, CBS Austin reported that most of the audience opted to remain inside the theater and finish watching the movie – even as the bat continued to fly about the darkened room.
It’s still unclear who released the animal, and no arrests or charges have been announced by authorities as of Monday.
Despite the minor disruption, The Batman proved to be this weekend’s highest-earning feature – earning $128.5 million opening at the domestic box office.
The news about the Robert Pattinson-starring feature was reported by The Hollywood Reporter, which also noted that the movie’s nearly three-hour-long runtime did not put off viewers.
It’s also the only second pandemic-era movie to cross the $100 million mark in a single weekend, a feat first achieved by Spider-Man: No Way Home, which launched last December to a historic $260 million.
Raking it in: The Batman proved to be this weekend’s highest-earning feature, earning $128.5 million at the domestic box office
Storyline: The Batman is centered on the titular superhero and follows him attempting to take on corruption in Gotham City while taking on The Riddler
Doing well: The Batman grossed a healthy $21.6 million during Thursday previews and fan screenings, which also took place earlier in the weekend
The Batman follows the titular superhero and as he attempts to take on corruption in Gotham City – as well as storied comic book villain The Riddler.
In addition to the Pattinson, the flick features Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano and Colin Farrell, among others.
Audience metrics showed that up to 65 percent of the movie’s audience was male over this past weekend, and skewed young as well: 18- to 34-year-olds attended in droves, making up 60 percent of total attendees.