The deadly shootings at a Dark Knight Rises screening leaves moviegoers with a shattered sense of security that could keep some away from the theater for good
When Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan expressed his "profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy" that left 12 people dead and 58 injured after a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, he also lamented that the murderer's targets were people who'd let their guard down in a dark room for two hours of entertainment. "The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me," Nolan said in a statement. After Friday's tragedy, some moviegoers had reportedly decided not to see The Dark Knight Rises — or any other movie — in theaters, at least for the time being. Theaters around the country have beefed up security in the wake of the shootings, and risk analysts stress that the tragedy at the Colorado movie theater is an isolated incident, but has our feeling of safety at the movies been irrevocably destroyed?
Moviegoers won't feel completely safe until they regain their complacency: Despite the Colorado shootings, many people still went to see The Dark Knight Rises, says S.T. Vanairsdale at Movieline, telling themselves, "I can't let the [insert menacing perpetrator of violence here] win." But they probably didn't feel the way they once did at the movies, and they may never again. A lot of us will probably adjust our behavior, maybe by arriving "early to get a seat close-by an exit, but then second-guessing your position because [alleged gunman James] Holmes is said to have entered through an emergency exit." Most people won't feel safe, at least not until they regain their complacency. Because, ultimately, "it's easier to be complacent than paranoid."
"You will never feel safe in a movie theater again"
Theaters are going to have to beef up security: To keep people feeling secure in those red velvet seats, says Timothy English at Examiner.com, theaters' security procedures are going to have to change. We may have to pass through metal detectors or have theater employees pass wands over our bodies before we enter. "It's going to drive some people crazy," but it'll need to happen to "keep you and your family safe."
"Colorado shooting may force a change in security measures"
Even increased security won't change the threatening circus atmosphere at midnight showings: Avoiding the theater isn't the answer, and neither is putting metal detectors at the ticket booth, former film critic Steven Senski tells CNN. Midnight showings, which "bring in patrons fresh from the bar, patrons who are sleep deprived," and, with movies like The Dark Knight Rises, people in unnerving costumes, makes for an atmosphere that feels very much "out of the theater's control."
"Are moviegoers passing on planned trips to the theater?"
Other stories from this topic:
- Fact Sheet: The Colorado massacre: Who is James Holmes?
- Opinion Brief: Colorado shooting: Should Warner Bros. have cancelled The Dark Knight Rises screenings?
- Burning Question: Will The Dark Knight Rises shooting change the gun-control debate?