On July 20, 2012 a gunman dressed in tactical gear entered the premier of “The Dark Knight Rises,” in Aurora, Colorado, set off tear gas and opened fire on a theater of unsuspecting moviegoers. The shooting left twelve people dead and fifty-eight injured, but the scars that were left on the country were much deeper. After the shooting people were terrified that there would be a copycat crime, and some stayed away, opting instead to watch it when it came out on DVD.
Fast forward to present times … Last weekend a movie theater in Missouri had the brilliant idea to hire actors to portray gunmen at the “Iron Man 3” premier. Obviously having fake shooters storm a movie premier was not the most intelligent idea for a publicity stunt.
Here’s the video:
Capital 8 Theaters in Jefferson City, Missouri says that it hired the actors to portray gunmen as entertainment and when asked if they regret their decision the manager Bob Wilkins said no his job is to entertain people. However, some guests were clearly not as entertained as he hoped. One man, an Army veteran, said the sight of a ‘gunman’ dressed in tactical gear brought up memories he would rather wish he’d not recall. Another moviegoer screamed in the lobby that there was a man with a gun. Police received multiple calls about a gunman in the theater and were quick to respond. According to the police department they showed up in force expecting an active shooter situation; when it was discovered to be a publicity stunt Capt. Doug Shoemaker was not pleased.
Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen. There’s really no good that can come of this.
The movie theater manager says that he is constantly worried about safety and the Aurora, Colorado shooting is always on his mind, but that one movie guest over-reacted:
There was no incident. This is one guy going into the middle of the lobby and screaming about a gun. He has caused more issues than anyone with a toy gun could…. There was no scenario that could have possibly been misconstrued for dangerous at all except for this one random overreacting guy…. It was a clear, plastic toy gun.
However, amidst the media backlash Capital 8 theaters released an apology on its Facebook page, but even so customers are asking that everyone involved be fired and have said that it was the dumbest publicity stunt ever. I would have to agree. It is rather puzzling why the theater manager would think that hiring fake shooters at the premier of the biggest superhero movie to come out since “The Dark Knight Rises” would be a good idea. In the last year this country has been unbelievably traumatized by the loss of life resulting from mass shootings. We have mourned innocent people more than we care to remember and it has left a big impact on the psyche of our nation. The patrons had every right to be terrified when they see a ‘gunman’ in the theater. With all that’s happened of course people are not going to immediately assume it is a publicity stunt. It’s actually a bit sad, really a year ago this might not have had the reaction it did, but now every time we see a gun in a crowd we are concerned. What does that say about our country? Yay “freedom” it really is proving to be fantastic.