OAK PARK, Ill. — Going to the movies with a group of friends is practically a rite of passage for many teens, but that will now be harder to do at one suburban theater on weekends.

On April 1, Classic Cinemas rolled out a new youth policy at its Lake Theatre location in Oak Park. According to the theater’s website, guests 15 and younger are required to be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult 21 or older after 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We were encountering patrons that were throwing stuff and it almost became contagious,” Chris Johnson, Classic Cinemas CEO, said. “We were going in (to theaters) and telling people to stop and then somebody else would do it. And it was just kind of a group effect. … We were spending all of our time in the auditorium and it was just a disruptive environment for everybody. So that’s when we enacted the policy.”

Under the new admission policy, guests appearing 15 years old or younger will have to show proof of their age or leave the theater. The theater’s website lists acceptable forms of ID as a school ID card with a date of birth and photo, a military ID, a passport or a state-issued driver’s license.

The supervising adult can accompany up to four youths and must always remain with them. 

Johnson told WGN News Now the policy wasn’t enacted to deter or punish teens and tweens from coming to the theater but was put in place so all guests can have the best movie experience.  

“We are about serving everyone, and I do believe we’ll get it back in order,” he said. “And I do believe that the majority of 15 and under are great kids and everything else. It just became more than just a few that were sort of ruining it for the others.”

Johnson said initially, people spoke out against the youth policy on social media, but overall, the response has been positive.

While the policy is new to Oak Park, Johnson said the company has enacted it at a few other regional theatres including their York Theatre in Elmhurst, Fox Lake Theatre in Fox Lake, Cinema 12 Theatre in Carpentersville, and Lindo Theatre in Freeport.