Colorado massacre doesn’t deter ‘Dark Knight’ moviegoers here
BY JOSH MCGHEE Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org July 20, 2012 6:10PM
An Orland Park police car sits in the parking lot as people go into the 10 a.m. showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at Marcus Cinema in Orland Park, Illinois, Friday, July 20, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 22, 2012 6:11AM
Chicago-area moviegoers were not deterred from seeing the final chapter of the “Dark Knight” film series after the horrific shooting at a midnight screening of the movie Thursday night in Aurora, Colo.
“I’ve always planned on seeing the movie, so this didn’t really detour me. It makes me a little more nervous, but it can happen anywhere,” said Lauren Landacre, 21, from St. Charles, who was waiting for friends at the AMC Loews theaters on Michigan Avenue, which reported multiple sold-out screenings of the movie.
Landacre said she would try to take friends’ advice to sit on an aisle near an exit.
Chelsea Garber, 24, works at an advertising company downtown, and said she plans to be aware of her surroundings but will not change her plans, contending the horrific incident could happen anywhere.
“Me not going anywhere isn’t preventing it from happening. Columbine didn’t detour me from going to school,” Garber said before entering the theater.
A theater manager directed questions to a spokesman for the chain but did note that the company had not changed security methods in light of the shooting.
Heath Thomas, regional manager of Goodrich Theaters, which operates the Kendall 10 theaters in Oswego and Randall 16 theaters in Batavia, said his theaters have not beefed up security, believing the tragedy in Aurora to be an isolated, random incident.
“Are we adding security? How do you add security for something as senseless as this? You don’t,” Thomas said. The theaters are already staffed by off-duty police offers or other police-trained professionals, Thomas said.
“Typically those are here for teenagers who are having a good time and don’t know the limits. Our staff is trained to be vigilant and mindful of surroundings. But how do we prepare for something like Colorado? We don’t. This could have happened anywhere.”
Tracy Tervin of Mokena was on the phone early Friday, making sure her cousin was not at the Aurora, Colo. theater. Her aunt and uncle are in town, visiting her family, but their fun took a serious turn Friday morning when they heard about the shootings.
They were immediately worried about the well being of their 30-year-old son, Tervin’s cousin, who lives in Aurora.
“They were very concerned and called him right away. He’s fine. He wasn’t at the movie,” a relieved Tervin said.
She and her son, Bobby, were at the Marcus Theater in Orland Park at 10:30 a.m. Friday, buying tickets for the 12:30 p.m. screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” the third film in the latest Batman trilogy.
Before the 10 a.m. showing, an Orland Park police officer was stationed in a squad car near the entrance. The officer was gone by the time the Tervins arrived.
Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy said an officer was dispatched to the theater “in a precautionary move.”
“We did our due diligence. We spoke with the managers, made sure they have security in place, made sure doors are locked,” McCarthy said.
In a prepared statement, Carlo Petrick, marketing and communications manager for Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters, said all showings of “The Dark Knight Rises” and all other motion pictures at all the chain will go on as scheduled.
“We are saddened by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the associates at the Century Theater and the Aurora community.
“These senseless, random acts of violence, by disturbed individuals, can happen anywhere, but had never occurred in a U.S. movie theater in its 110-year history. Safety and security of our guests and associates is always a priority concern. We will take appropriate measures to have our security precautions in place today and every day,” he said in a prepared statement.
Contributing: Steve Metsch, Jane Michaels, Jenette Sturges