We planned before the Colorado shooting to see the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” on Sunday afternoon. I had a babysitter hired and hated to break that commitment to her.
After the shooting, we felt a little weird going to see the movie but thought it would be OK once we got seated and the movie started. It wasn’t.
Our local multiplex had the new Batman movie playing in multiple theaters starting about every 40 minutes. The showings appeared to be packed.
When we walked into the lobby we immediately noticed all the extra employees – some with the security company and some just regular employees.
When we walked into the theater itself, we saw the manager and two other employees standing on the side of the theater watching everyone file in.
When I sat down my eyes went to the emergency exits picturing in my mind someone coming in through the door holding a gun. I kept watching the doors to make sure they stayed shut. The previews were rolling but in my head I was planning my escape. I thought about getting low behind seats. I thought about getting to the exit on the right side of the theater.
Before the movie started, the manager stopped the previews and spoke. He didn’t mention the shooting. He talked about not texting and if there were any small children that couldn’t be settled to please bring them out and they would give you a rain check to return another day. (There were so many small children that didn’t belong in this movie, but that is a different article.)
Michael thought the manager speaking and the extra employees were supposed to make you feel comforted. It didn’t. It made me feel like they were worried about copycats.
As the movie got started, my eyes couldn’t help but follow people walking up and down the stairs. You knew they were just going to the bathroom or to get a drink but they made me nervous as hell. I couldn’t get focused on the movie.
I kept trying to remember at which point in the movie the shooter came in. I kept looking at those emergency exits.
Without giving away too much of the plot, early in the movie there is a mass shooting. I about lost it at that point. I teared up and thought about walking out. You couldn’t help but think about the people in Aurora being shot the same way.
I guess I finally focused on the movie because at one point a lady came back from the bathroom and stopped at our aisle. She startled me, and I nearly jumped out of my seat.
Other people did go to the theater this weekend to see the new Batman movie, although maybe not as many as would have gone if the shooting had not occurred. According to Entertainment Weekly:
‘The Dark Knight Rises took in an estimated $162 million over the weekend, reports The New York Times, giving it a slightly better opening than its predecessor, but still less than either The Avengers or the final Harry Potter film. While that number was below some projections of $190 million, it indicates that moviegoers weren’t strongly dissuaded from attending screenings in the wake of the Colorado shooting. (Though pre-sale tickets are certainly a factor as well.)”
I’m not sure if my stress level was so high because it was the same movie the poor victims were watching or if was just being in the darkened theater.
I flew in a small plane about a week after a similar one from the same airline crashed and obviously kids still go to school despite school shootings. But somehow sitting in the dark theater, I felt very vulnerable.
I had planned to take the kids to see Madagascar 3 this week and Rose wants to see the Katie Perry movie. I don’t know if these movies will feel any better to me. I may put them off until the next week. But will it feel normal then?
Did you see the Dark Knight Rises despite the shooting? Were you freaked out? Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you focus on the emergency doors and people coming up the aisle like I did? Do you think other movies will feel OK?