Cinema staff across the country will be required to don military-style night vision goggles in order to help crack down on movie piracy ahead of the release of two of the most anticipated blockbuster smashes of the year.
The release of the latest film in the James Bond franchise, Spectre, as well as the next installment in the hugely successful Hunger Games series, Mockingjay Part 2, has meant the film industry is looking into ways to beef up security at screens in order to stop the movies leaking online.
As part of a new measure to stop piracy ahead of the release of Spectre in October, staff will use equipment that would not look out of place in the 007 blockbuster, wearing night vision googles in order to make it easier see who may be illegally recording the film.
In recent years, pirates have found new and inventive ways to record movies while watching them at the cinema screens, including using a smartphone to film through a popcorn box and covering their phone with a sock with a hole in to hide the glare of the screen.
Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), said: "The bigger the film and the more anticipated it is, the higher-risk it is. We have staff on extra alert for that. James Bond is a big risk and we will be working with cinema operators and the distributors making sure we will keep that as tight as possible. We really don't want to see that recorded.
"They [cinema staff] are on alert to really drill down on who is in the auditorium and who might possibly be recording. They still do the sweeps around the auditoriums with the night vision glasses regardless of the film. But sometimes extra security is put in place for things like Bond."
The initiative arrived after a man in Nottinghamshire was arrested on suspicion of recording recently released films American Ultra and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and posting them on the internet.
Following the arrest, Sharp said: "Over 90% of counterfeit versions of movies originate initially from a copy recorded in a cinema. Piracy not only costs the film industry millions of pounds but can also affect thousands of jobs, so it is crucial we act upon intelligence we receive about this activity.
"With two big releases due to hit the screens in the next few months it is incredibly important we work to combat those behind illegal film recordings."