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, reports the Christian Science Monitor. 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.
The National Association of Theatre Owners said its members “are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.” Many national theater chains announced increased security personnel and said they were examining their policies for possible changes. Costumes are common sights in midnight showings, primarily for fantasy or science fiction fare. “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 the new book “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture” and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.” Thelma Adams, a contributing editor at Yahoo! Movies in New York says the fallout from the Colorado murders could harm attendance.