Increased security at Houston-area movie theaters

July 20, 2012 8:19:50 PM PDT
Some theaters and police across the country are stepping up security, especially for showings of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."

A mass shooting at a Colorado theater during a showing of the movie has cast dark shadow over an otherwise much-anticipated film.

"It's kind of scary and it puts you in a place of thought, like, what if that happened here?" moviegoer Amanda Banegas said.

A lot of local theatres are adding security this weekend, but they say it's because of the increase in crowds, not because of the shooting.

Some theaters are stepping up uniformed presence and conducting baggage checks and pat-downs. Others are not.

"There needs to be more security and more pat-downs," moviegoer Elijah Clark said. "If they didn't have security cameras in Colorado, then it wasn't safe at all."

Federal investigators believe the shooting suspect -- identified as 24-year-old James Holmes -- bought a movie ticket, propped open an exit door and then re-entered and opened fire 20-30 minutes into the midnight showing.

"You can't see the movie without thinking about it. It's a tragedy," moviegoer Remington Belford said.

"I guess it just makes you feel on edge and not as safe," moviegoer Samantha Rojano said. "You'd think that just going to the movies nothing bad would happen but hearing this puts you on edge."

One local theater manager said he thinks more theaters may now add surveillance cameras following the fatal film viewing, but he said even that couldn't have prevented the injuries and deaths of so many innocent victims.

Cinemark issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, loved ones, our employees, and the aurora community. We are grateful for the quick and professional reaction of all local law enforcement and emergency responders. We are working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement."

Regal Entertainment, which owns Edwards Greenway and Edwards Houston Marq'e, issued the following statement:

"We are profoundly saddened by the tragedy that occurred at a Denver area theatre and are concerned for the victims and their families. The security and safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority. As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families."

AMC Theatres posted the following statement on their website:

    "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. "

AMC further clarified their rule on costumes Friday evening, stating costumes are not banned, but they "will not admit guests with face-concealing masks" or fake weapons.


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