What The Colorado Theater Massacre Means For The Future Of Movieseeing

Movie theaters used to be a safe place for everyone. However, after a red-haired 24-year-old entered an Aurora, Colorado midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises and sprayed bullets into a crowded audience, killing 12 and injuring 58 more, the safety of moviegoers will forever be in question.

To me, movie theaters should be a haven, a place of escape. Christopher Nolan, director of the final episode of the Batman trilogy, feels the same. He commented about last week’s shooting with heavy feelings of sorrow and sadness.

“The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families,” Nolan said.

12 people were killed in the shooting. This number seems so vast, but it’s a lot smaller than it could’ve been. With dozens and dozens of moviegoers filling row after row in theaters, they would extremely vulnerable if a shooting like this were to occur. There would be nowhere to run, nowhere to exit, without being wide-open to getting shot. And it’s quite scary.

This fear has definitely affected attendance of Nolan’s film. The Dark Knight Rises had very little struggle to raise box office standards the first night of its premiere, but since then, it’s rumbled its way to nearly $210 million, a number substantially lower than both The Dark Knight and The Avengers, who both peaked over $220 millon in the first week of their showings.

But as many parents are restraining their children from seeing the action flick, could it be due to the content of the film possibly inspiring another tragedy?

In my humble opinion, it won’t, shouldn’t, and if it does, the movies are not to blame. Nolan’s films have always been fairly dark, often filled with death and destruction, but in no way should they be the blame for the Colorado tragedy. In fact, they should be far from the focus. They are part of the style of art that films portray. However, people will still point their fingers at Nolan.

But the big question is not generalized in the direction of movies themselves, but the atmosphere of seeing them. Just like following 9/11, we may see the moviegoing experience change forever. We may see the installation of metal detectors, boosted security, and maybe even bag checks. Because the theater is such a vulnerable place for something like a shooting or bombing to take place, there is definite evidence that its atmosphere may change from a place of escape to a place where no one is trusted and everything must be checked.

Thankfully, though, I don’t see it happening. Why? It would just be too much work. Attendance would drop even further, which is hurting in the first place, and it would also cost a lot of money to install such security measures. Neither side would be happy.

In the end, we should reflect upon this tragedy and pray for the victims, sympathize with them, and, like many relatives of the victims have said, forget the name of the shooter (and I will cease to ever mention his name, as it’s not important). But the most important thing is that we continue to go see films because they are a unique form of art; they’re an escape from the outside world, they’re a type of entertainment. With how much I loved the new Spiderman and Batman films, I’m going to want to go out to my local AMC and see them again, and nothing will stop me from continuing to love moviegoing for what it is. Not even a tragedy like this.

I would also like to mention that Hans Zimmer, who composed the score for The Dark Knight Rises, has a new song titled “Aurora” available for download on iTunes now. 100% of its proceeds will go to victims of the Aurora theater massacre.


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Author: Tim Dodderidge View all posts by
I'm a student at the University of Kansas hoping to major in journalism. I love Christopher Nolan films, eating at Taco Bell, and playing indoor soccer. I also like to watch How I Met Your Mother and enjoy writing poetry.

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