A cinema full of excited children preparing to watch ‘Madagascar 3’ fled screaming in terror after bungling staff put on hair-raising horror film ‘Paranormal Activity’ by mistake.
Parents were shocked when the opening scenes from the 15-rated supernatural thriller started playing instead of the favourite family cartoon movie.
Stunned kids watched in horror as a jumpy scene from the original film played – which shows a woman’s bloodied corpse being hurled at the camera.
Around 25 families at Nottingham’s Cineworld were forced to scramble for the exits with their crying children – some as young as five-years-old – when the film started.
Angry mum Natasha Lewis, 32, accompanied her eight-year-old son Dylan to the screening which took place at 10.30am on Saturday.
The full-time mum, from Bulwell, Notts, said: “Dylan wanted to see the new Madagascar film as he’s seen the others and they’re his favourite. He was really looking forward to it.
“We sat down and it was meant to start at 10am, but it took until 10.30am for the lights to go down and for the trailers to start.
“They started playing the movie and I thought – this doesn’t look right. And then I recognised the opening sequence as a flash back to the first movie, which I saw a couple of years ago.
“It opens on the most terrifying scene in the first film – where a body shoots full pelt towards the camera.
“It’s enough to make grown men jump, so you can imagine the terror in these young faces.
“Everybody just scrambled for the exits, all you could hear were children crying and screaming. Everyone was very upset.
“I’ve watched a few horror films in my time but the Paranormal Activity films are the scariest since the Exorcist.
“It was only about two minutes worth of the film but it was enough to scar them for life.
“There were parents and kids in there, including some children who were younger than Dylan.
“The cinema needs to check the film before sending everyone in so they don’t make this mistake again.
“I’m disgusted about it, mistakes like this simply should not happen.
“Dylan has not liked going to the cinema before but I thought we’d try it out. But now he never wants to go back.”
Natasha was refunded the #11.40 she had paid for the two tickets by staff, who also offered customers the chance to see ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ on another screen.
Cineworld apologised to customers who were affected by the glitch, and say measures are being taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
A spokeswoman for Cineworld said: “We have investigated the incident and can confirm that this was a technical error with the projector and apologise sincerely to the families.
“All customers who were affected by the incident were offered refunds and complimentary tickets.
“We also invited customers to watch the screening of Madagascar 3 half an hour later.
“We take matters such as this very seriously and are currently working with technicians to ensure this does not happen again.”