AMC Theatres said it is reinforcing its security procedures in the wake of today’s shooting in Colorado during a midnight screening of Warner Bros‘ The Dark Knight Rises. The company 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.
Expect to see a lot of blue shirts out tonight at theaters showing The Dark Knight Rises. Police and theater chains nationwide are tightening security in the aftermath of the shooting. “We will be beefing up patrols units in areas around movie theaters and we will have undercover officers out there too,” an LAPD spokesperson told Deadline today. Officers in the Hollywood Division of the LAPD will be checking theaters’ perimeters and emergency exits as well as being stationed in the front of some cinemas. The Colorado gunman came in through an emergency exit at the theater in Aurora. “We intend to be a visible presence,” one officer said to Deadline.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly earlier told NBCNewYork.com that the NYPD will provide coverage at theaters where The Dark Knight Rises is playing in the five boroughs “as a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado”. Nassau County police said they would have “intensive” additional patrols around movie theaters showing Dark Knight Rises, according to NBCNewYork.com. Emergency service units, K-9 teams and special operations units will join the patrols. The daytime manager at United Artists/Regal Cinema in Brooklyn told NBC 4 New York that the NYPD has been in contact with her and planned patrols in the area.
Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer Araz Alali told Deadline, “We will ensure that our officers are paying close attention to the theaters throughout the weekend”. Alali would not discuss tactical procedures or specific security plans. At the Regal Gallery Place multiplex in downtown Washington, employees searched patrons’ bags and purses while taking tickets at an 11 AM showing of Dark Knight Rises. Moviegoers seemed unfazed. “I’m believing that it’s not related so much to the movie,” Steve Glaude, a 57-year-old federal employee, told The Associated Press. “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.”
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement to Deadline that it “extends its sincere condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the tragic incident in Colorado. We are in contact with our law enforcement partners investigating this incident. We will remain vigilant in our enforcement efforts and give special attention to movie theaters throughout the City”.
One manager at the Regal Kendall Village Stadium 16 and RPX in Miami told NBCMiami.com that the theater would have police officers patrolling the lobby starting at 7 PM for additional security. The manager, who did not give her name, did not comment further and referred comment to Regal Entertainment.
Related: What The Theater Chains Are Saying
While they would not provide any “operational details” about increased security, Houston Police say they are working with theater owners in the area. Some employees at a Houston movie theater said security is normally beefed up for big premieres because of the larger crowds expected, according to click2houston.com. They said there is a police and security presence 24 hours a day.
Executives of St. Louis-based Wehrenberg Theatres had discussions before dawn with managers of its 15 cinemas in Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa, spokeswoman Kelly Hoskins told The Asssociated Press. She said the company feels comfortable with security already in place and plans no changes. She told the AP she hopes other theater chains don’t panic and cancel showings.
(Photos: Getty Images)
Managing Editor Denise Petski contributed to this report.