Colorado shootings likely to change movie going experience indefinitely
In the wake of the Colorado theater shootings, many movie chains have changed their security policies. No masks, fake weapons, or backpacks. But would theater-goers accept metal detectors?
One of the worst mass shootings in US history wreaked havoc on the lives of those who live in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman killed 12 people early Friday morning at a multiplex theater. The murders are also expected to impact the movie going experience indefinitely.Skip to next paragraph
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Since news broke that James Holmes, a doctoral student in neuroscience, allegedly shot 70 people in a midnight screening of the popular Batman franchise, many theater chains issued statements changing their security policies. For example, AMC Theatres said face-concealing masks or fake weapons would not be allowed. Classic Cinemas, a chain in Northern Illinois, issued an open-ended ban on backpacks “or other large bags” as well as masks.
More changes are expected. The National Association of Theatre Owners, a trade group in Washington representing over 30,000 theater screens in the US, issued a statement Friday that its members “are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.” Many national theater chains announced increased security personnel starting this weekend and said they were examining their policies for possible changes.
Costumes are common sights in midnight showings, primarily for fantasy or science fiction fare involving film franchises that can stretch for years, allowing audiences to invest in characters and story lines on a more personal level.
“Midnight showings of these kinds of movies just enhance that sense of ritual and make it more of a bonding experience for people willing to make the extra effort to stand in line and stay up late,” says Rob Salkowitz, author of a just-released book called “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture” and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We want to get together and hear these stories told and share our love of them. It’s really affirmative.”
The film industry also relies on the midnight showings to boost revenue on opening weekends, which is crucial in an era when it’s feeling the crunch from competing living room entertainment like cable television, streaming Internet movies and television shows, and video games. Midnight screenings are part of recent strategies like IMAX and 3-D technology meant to encourage the live experience in an era when so much is compelling audiences to stay home.