AMC Theatres, the country's second-largest movie chain, announced Friday afternoon that The Dark Knight Rises show will go on in the wake of the Aurora, CO attack by a costumed gunman. But the corporate office posted on Facebook that security has been beefed up at its 300 locations nationally—22 in Southern California—and AMC is banning face masks and fake guns.
It announced the following on the AMC Facebook page, and had nearly 8,000 people "like" it and almost 800 comments posted in less than two hours:
AMC Theatres is deeply saddened by the Aurora tragedy. Movie going is part of our social fabric and this senseless act shakes us to our core. 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.
At this time, our show schedules circuit-wide will not change. We will not allow any guests into our theatres in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings. If guests wish to exchange or refund any tickets, we will honor our existing policy and do as our guests wish. We are taking necessary precautions to ensure our guests who wish to enjoy a movie this weekend can do so with as much peace of mind as possible in these circumstances.
The latest news reports indicate one man entered theatre #9 at the Aurora, Colorado Century 16 cineplex for the Dark Knight Rises midnight screening and about 39 minutes into it, set off a noxioius gas canister and began shooting people. Twelve theatergoers died, and 71 were shot, four of them military personnel. The gunman wore all black, bulletproof garments and helmet, and a gas mask.
Arrested in the theater parking lot behind the Denver suburb's theater as the suspected gunman was James Holmes, 24, a UC Denver Ph.D student in neuroscience who was in the process of dropping out, Huffington Post reports. He graduated UC Riverside and grew up in San Diego County, where his parents live.
Many expressed gratitude on Facebook to AMC for its heightened security. Some observers think that despite the massacre in Colorado, and might actually further propel its popularity.
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Added at 5:30 p.m. Friday: “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," announced Patrick Corcoran, California operations chief of NATO. "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."