The cinema was devastated, the film screening stopped, the police on a large scale: in several cinemas in Germany and other countries there have been riots in the past few days while “Creed III” was running there, the ninth film in the saga about the boxer “Rocky”. .

In the TikTok network, videos of the disruptive actions get a lot of attention. According to the Essen police, they have indications of a challenge. The actors goad each other to force the cancellation of cinema screenings with their actions and thus get attention on TikTok. But experts have yet to identify a far-reaching trend.

“Our cinema 1 was like a battlefield full of rubbish”

In Essen, Hamburg and Bremen, the police were on duty at the weekend with strong forces because cinema workers could no longer get the situation under control. There were smaller operations in several other cities or the cinema operators got the situation under control themselves. “Guests got up, climbed over seats and threw snacks across the hall,” said a police spokesman in Essen. The approximately 40 rioting people would have continued when the cinema screening had long since been stopped. In Hamburg, the police speak of 60 troublemakers. The officers were unable to arrest anyone.

And it didn’t just hit the big cities: “Our cinema 1 was like a battlefield full of rubbish, scattered popcorn and spilled drinks. I’ve never experienced anything like it before,” says Reinhard Berens from the Tichelpark cinema in Kleve on the Lower Rhine. In some French cities, police reported scenes of tumult and mass riots while “Creed III – Rocky’s Legacy” was on screen.

Social media experts from the Essen police found evidence of a challenge on social networks. “Some people show such antisocial behavior that should lead to a movie being canceled,” writes the authority. A lot of videos have appeared on TikTok in particular. “That’s striking,” said a spokesman.

Is there a challenge on TikTok?

Other experts are still cautious. For a typical challenge, the topic lacks a hashtag and a typical sound, says Marcus Bösch, scientist at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. “Without them, a topic on TikTok doesn’t spread.”

Robert de Lubomirz-Treter from the state media agency in North Rhine-Westphalia also considers the distribution in the network to be too low. However, the mechanism of the video portal could result in a trend, he says. In the comments on the clips from the cinema halls, there is a striking number of racist statements that generated objections from other users. “This ensures interaction and thus traffic and flushes the topic onto the displays of even more people.”

Due to this prominence, the topic could continue to escalate. “Many users want to get as many views as possible, because then you are someone. In order to get a large number of views, you can take up a topic that is already prominent, but you have to go a little further than the others,” he explains media expert. In any case, there are some ingredients in the cinema riots that could favor an upcoming trend. “Destruction, rebelling against adults, testing risks and limits – there’s a lot that can appeal to adolescents.”

Cinema operators sincerely hope that such a chain reaction will not occur. As a first reaction, the cinema chain Cineplex deployed security forces in front of the cinema halls and carried out bag checks. Brass knuckles, knives and other smaller weapons had already appeared, said managing director Kim-Ludolf Koch to WDR.

Andreas Simon, who runs several houses in Saarland, has taken the film “Creed III” out of the program as a precaution. There had been incidents during several screenings, he and his team had to interrupt the film again and again, and the halls then looked “like a single pigsty,” he told Saarland radio. So he decided to pull the emergency brake for himself and his employees. “I don’t do that to myself anymore.”