Does ‘Incredibles 2’ Come With an Epilepsy Warning?

The Disney-Pixar animated sequel has prompted safety concerns among some viewers.

  • Published 18 June 2018

Claim

The animated film "Incredibles 2" contains scenes that prompted an epilepsy warning at movie theaters.

Origin

On 15 June 2018, Incredibles 2 — the sequel to the hugely successful 2004 animated movie Incredibles — was released to good reviews. Not long after that, the reviews were augmented by concerns in widely shared blog posts and social media warnings that certain scenes might trigger epileptic seizures. 

On 16 June, the non-profit Epilepsy Foundation issued a warning about the film:

Members of our community have expressed concerns about flashing lights in the new Disney Pixar movie “Incredibles 2,” and, in certain instances, people having experienced a seizure during the movie. We stand with our epilepsy warriors and their families as they voice their concerns about the movie and appreciate the efforts some theaters have already made to post warning signs for people waiting to see the movie.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, around three percent of people with epilepsy have a condition known as photosensitive epilepsy, in which intense flickering lights and other visual stimuli can trigger seizures, migraines, and headaches. Among the common causes of these seizures are “intense strobe lights,” “video games or TV broadcasts containing rapid flashes or alternating patterns of different colors,” and even natural sunlight, “especially when shimmering off water, flickering through trees or through the slats of Venetian blinds.”

Over the course of the movie’s opening weekend, members of the public shared photographs of a boilerplate warning posted in movie theaters in various parts of the country by various companies including AMC and Cinemark: 

Film curator Colin Geddes shared what appears to be a memo sent by Ken Caldwell, Senior Vice President at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, to movie theaters showing Incredibles 2. The memo is dated 15 June 2018, suggesting that Disney took action on the epilepsy risk on the same day the movie was released:

It has come to our attention that some lighting effects in Incredibles 2 may affect photosensitive viewers. Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that you provide at the box office and other appropriate places a notice to your customers containing the following information:

“INCREDIBLES 2 contains a sequence of flashing lights which may affect customers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or other photosensitivities.” 

You can find details here and here about the specific elements in the film that have caused most concern.

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