Like many movie goers, my excitement over seeing the last installment in the Batman trilogy was destroyed Friday morning with the tragic news of the Aurora, Colo. shootings.
Shock, anger, sadness, confusion all fluttered through me after reading that 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58 in a rampage at the midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. The massacre was the deadliest shooting in the United States since an army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians in Fort Hood, Texas in 2009, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Holmes, dressed in black with a helmet, body armor and a gas mask that would remind fans of the Dark Knight’s nemesis Bane, stepped through a side door and turned the action thriller into a real nightmare. He threw gas canisters and then opened fire on the crowd.
Despite the tragedy, I decided to go see the movie on Sunday at the Fairfax 6 theater. The film was expected to gross $200 million this weekend, and according to the several reports, it came close to hitting that mark with more than $160 million at the box office.
Thinking it might be difficult to find a seat, I arrived early to avoid craning my neck in the front row. The theater was not even a third full. A few people filtered in during the previews, one of whom was a tall man wearing a hat and carrying a large backpack. He stopped at my row for a few seconds before deciding to sit in the back.
Around 30 minutes in, I left the theater to use the bathroom when I bumped into a woman in the hall. “Did you see that man with the backpack?” she asked. “He’s making me really nervous.”
Shrugging it off at first, I used the facilities and then returned to the show. The man was sitting a few rows back from me and I could hear him shifting back and fourth in his seat. A nervous knot settled in my stomach, as I began thinking about how the Colorado victims believed their masked attacker was at first part of a stunt for the opening weekend.
and visibility at weekend showings to ease the public's concern over a copycat. AMC theaters also announced that staff will not permit anyone in the theater wearing a mask or possessing fake weapons. Although at the time, I thought the possibility of a copycat was small, sitting in that theater with my heart pounding just because of a stranger with a backpack made me think twice.
Did you go to see the Batman movie this weekend? How did it make you feel?