No film was more highly-anticipated this summer than Christopher Nolan's epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy, but a dark cloud now hangs over "The Dark Knight Rises." In Aurora, Colorado, 24-year-old James Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight screening of the film, then apparently exited the theater through an emergency door, leaving it propped open behind him, returned dressed in full protective body armor, and opened fire on the packed auditorium. With 12 people killed and more than 50 injured, it is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Across the nation, people awoke to the horrific news, expressing sadness, disbelief, anger and, of course, fear. Though police have found nothing to indicate that this was more than an isolated incident, heightened security measures have been implemented at movie theaters throughout the country.
AMC Theatres, which operates the movie houses in Burbank, issued a statement today outlining their new policies resulting from the Colorado shooting. In addition to assuring patrons that both private security teams and local law enforcement will be policing AMC venues, the company is now restricting the types of costumes patrons can wear and forbidding anyone to bring prop weapons into the theater.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, AMC Theatres explained: "Contrary to media reports, costumes are not banned, but we will not admit guests with face-concealing masks and we will not allow fake weapons in the buildings. We want all our guests to feel comfortable at our theatres and we will be closely monitoring."
AMC will also refund or exchange any pre-purchased tickets if the purchaser no longer wishes to use them.
Though no threats have been reported in the Burbank area, Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn encourages everyone to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activities. "Our eyes and ears are all of the citizens in the community," Ryburn said. "They can provide information, indicators, for us to follow up and take the additional steps necessary to confirm or deny any possible threat."
Reports coming out of Colorado indicate that the shooter is not speaking to the police, but there is every reason to believe that his rampage was the isolated act of a lone gunman. If you were planning to visit the movie theater this weekend to see "The Dark Knight Rises," or to escape the heat with a different movie, this incident should not cause you to change your plans.
Click here to see what's playing the AMC Burbank 16 this weekend.