Security has been beefed up at screenings of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” after a gunman went on a rampage at a Colorado theater early this morning, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, movie theater owners are scrambling to reassure the public that safety is a major concern.
With the eagerly anticipated movie expected to be one of the biggest box-office openings of the year, many movie goers were unfazed by the shooting spree while others admitted to being nervous about attending the film.
As previously reported, a suspect was in custody in the shooting in Aurora, Colo., which left 12 people dead and 58 others injured.
“Two police officers were stationed outside the AMC theater in New York’s Times Square, which had showings of the Batman movie beginning every 20 minutes. Later in the day, the officers gave way to a police cruiser that was parked out front with an officer in it,” the story reports.
Said Jimmy Baker, 40, of Harlem, who waited in line for about three hours: "I just felt bad for the people that had to be traumatized by this entire event. [But] I didn’t feel like it had any kind of effect on me. … I’m just here to enjoy a good movie."
“Stephanie Suriel, 21, of Brooklyn, waiting outside the same theater, said her mother was slightly concerned about her going to see the film. But ‘I’m not nervous at all because I really want to see that movie,’" the story reports. “Still, just to be safe, she said, ‘I’m going to sit in the back.’"
At a multiplex in Washington, D.C., employees of the theater searched movie goers’ bags and purses while collecting tickets for the 11 a.m. screening of the movie, the story reports.
Said Steve Glaude, 57: "I’m believing that [the shooting is] not related so much to the movie. The movie may have been a trigger. It may not have been. We don’t know. I don’t think it was hero or villain emulation."
Meanwhile, Deadline.com reported that theater owners released a number of statements addressing security issues. The website reported that AMC theaters "will not allow any guests into theaters ‘in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings.’ Said the chain: ‘We’re reinforcing our security procedures with our theatre teams, which we cannot discuss in detail for obvious, safety reasons. Local law enforcement agencies, our landlords and their and our local security teams are stepping up nationwide to ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our guests. We couldn’t be more grateful for their collective support.’ AMC said it is not amending any of the circuit’s screening schedules for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ but it will exchange or refund tickets for the movie."
Deadline reported separately that the Regal movie theater chain said, "We are profoundly saddened by the tragedy that occurred at a Denver area theatre and are concerned for the victims and their families. The security and safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority. As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families."
According to another Deadline report, the National Association of Theater Owners said: “On behalf of all the members and staff of the National Association of Theatre Owners, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this despicable act and their families. We are grateful for the quick and effective response by police and emergency personnel. Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. NATO members are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.”