A quick thought- in some movie theatres in Britain they have special showings for autistic and special needs people. You could find out if there is anything like that in your area and suggest a trip to it. This would be a very supportive action to your friend....and a kind way of helping her to find something enjoyable for her boy
, as well as you being more comfortable with it!
Another thought - if no special showings - I take my child to 'kids club' - the movie theatres have special showings on saturday and sunday mornings - cheaper,and full of kids, including noisy little ones! You could invite them along, say there is a film you really want to see, and then casually remark at the end that it was great that there were lots of kids making noise and that no one minded! We must do it again etc!
Sadly parents of such children have to grow horribly thick skins to cope with the staring and the rude remarks given out by passers by who don't understand the problems. There is a lot of heart ache that you have to go through before being as brave as your friend..who is standing up for her child in an admirable way.
I do feel quite strongly that autistic / special needs people shouldn't be pushed into the victorian era of 'not to be seen or heard'. Why should they be excluded from activities that are enjoyable to them as well as others?
Please be gentle with your friend, your friendship is probably more important to her than you realise.
It's hard when everyone around you is talking about their kids, what they are doing, about their independent future plans etc...and you have to smile and be interested (which you are) but at the back of your mind is that thought "what about my boy?" they are so easily over looked by our friends, but they are just as precious important as the ones embarking on life