The Incredibles 2 opened up last weekend to long lines and rave reviews, grossing $71 million in its first three days. It also opened to some unexpected anxiety from parents who noticed that a handful of scenes in the movie contain bright flashing lights that could trigger viewers with epilepsy or other light sensitive neural conditions. After moviegoers publically voiced their concerns, Disney quickly responded by asking theatres to include a warning about the scenes at the beginning of the movie.
Photosensitive epilepsy is a neurological disorder whereby flashing lights trigger seizures. It affects about 1 in 4,000 people, and while that’s a relatively small pool, it’s more common in kids ages 7- to 19-years-old ⏤ or, a lot of the movie’s target audience.
Twitter user Veronica Lewis (@veron4ica) was the first person to point out that the movie might pose a threat to those with photosensitive epilepsy, and also noted that people who suffer from migraines, vertigo, autism, and PTSD could be at risk as well. Lewis explained the scenes in question, noting that one toward the end of the movie went on for about 90 seconds. While her descriptive audio device warned her of some potentially triggering scenes, she said it didn’t catch all of them.
This isn’t the first time that a film or television show physically affected viewers. One man claimed that a bar scene from Twilight: Breaking Dawn triggered one of his seizures. And in 1997, an episode of Pokemon that contained flashing red and blue lights sent almost 700 Japanese children to the hospital.