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CinemaCon 2016 Scare: ‘Now You See Me 2’ Screening Cut Short for Security Concerns

Caesars Palace security team interrupts screening less than 15 minutes into Lionsgate sequel and evacuates theater

A screening of Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2” at CinemaCon was cut short on Thursday afternoon after less than 15 minutes out of security concerns.

The screening was abruptly ended just before 3 p.m. PT and the hundreds of attendees instructed to evacuate the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas so police officials could investigate a potentially suspicious bag that turned out to be a false alarm.

“During the screening of ‘Now You Can See Me 2,’ someone went to our security people and said, ‘There’s a backpack in the chair next to me and the people haven’t returned,'” CinemaCon managing director Mitch Neuhauser said outside the auditorium. “So for precautionary reasons, they felt the prudent thing to do was to ask everyone to kindly leave — not thinking that there’s anything was wrong, but for the safety and precaution of all of you.”

The screening was soon canceled and will not be rescheduled. However, Neuhauser said Thursday night’s CinemaCon Awards ceremony will proceed as scheduled in the same venue.

“A potential threat had to be taken seriously,” NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran said in a statement. “By the time we determined it was not a threat, it was too late to start the movie.”

The screening had begun as planned just after 2:30 p.m., following a Lionsgate presentation that included appearances by Tyler Perry, Keanu Reeves and real-life magician and Vegas mainstay David Copperfield.

And then the screen suddenly went black about 15 minutes into “Now You See Me 2,” during the middle of a scene featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo and newcomer Lizzy Caplan.

A female voice over the loudspeaker instructed several hundred exhibitors and other convention-goers to gather their belongings and calmly exit the auditorium immediately.

Meriah Doty contributed to this report.