Kids and their parents were sitting down to watch the Shrek spin off film, in which Antonio Banderas voices the plucky cat, only to find that highly inappropriate trailers were shown. First up was one for the forthcoming 15-rated horror movie The Devil Inside, about demonic possession and exorcism, featuring, as you can imagine, all manner of gruesome images and unsettling screaming.

To compound the error, Cineworld, Wandsworth then showed the trailer for the 12A-rated Ghost Rider sequel, starring Nicolas Cage, during which a flaming skull shoots fire from its mouth while fighting with the devil. The screening of this age-restricted content breaks British Board of Film Classification laws and the cinema could face a fine or even losing its permit.

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Peter Flynn who had taken his four-year old daughter to the screening, told The Sun: “She was extremely frightened by what were exceptionally-strong images, even by adult standards. I tried to cover her eyes and ears.”

Cineworld Deputy General manager David Denver rushed to halt the trailers, which should have been shown before the following film Underworld: Awakening.

“I can only apologise. I would be upset if my children had seen those trailers,” he said. “We’re investigating how this error happened and action will be taken if appropriate.”

Photo: Paramount / EOne Entertainment