MORE than 3,000 people came out in force to support the new Autism Friendly Films project, launched by learning disability support provider Dimensions and cinema chain ODEON.

Forty cinemas across the country took part in the special screening of Mr Popper’s Penguins, starring Jim Carrey.

The nation-wide project was launched to raise awareness of people’s sensory differences and get people talking and thinking about ways that society can be more inclusive.

It was some people’s first ever trip to the cinema because the thought of attending a mainstream screening had previously been too difficult to contemplate.

Lisa Hopkins, Director of Specialist Development for Dimensions, said: “The response has been outstanding. I have witnessed people of all ages enjoying the cinema in an environment that was more conducive with their needs.

“People were laughing and clapping during the film and it was truly thrilling to see so many people enjoying themselves without the fear of being hushed or feeling uneasy because of the darkness or the loud sound effects.

“I think it really demonstrates what can be achieved when people work together to make places like the cinema more accessible to everyone.”

Subtle difference made to the auditorium (including low lighting and reduced sound effects) meant that people with sensory differences, were able to watch the new release family comedy in an environment more conducive with their needs.

It is hoped that Autism Friendly Films will become a regular event in ODEON’s film calendar.