By Marissa Roper
Features and University Life Editor
James Holmes, the convicted gunman of the Aurora, Colorado shooting at the “Dark-Night Rising” midnight premiere back in July 2012, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for allegedly opening fire in the theatre and killing twelve people, injuring 70. The judge accepted his plea of insanity on June 4th. Holmes, who is seeking death penalty, must undergo mental evaluation that may take months. If proven not guilty under the plea of insanity, Holmes would be admitted to the state mental hospital according to NBC News.
Bringing back harsh memories from last summers’ tragedy, both movie theatregoers and workers explained how the shooting has changed the activity all together. “It always pops into your mind every once in a while, especially in the scary movies or violent movies,” said Leo Gonzales, who works for the state press at ASU, “sitting away from the exit always makes me nervous.”
“It is tragic and we should all be careful when going to the movie theatres,” said Walter Cronkite Journalism student, Brooke Smith. Moviegoers and costumers are not the only people emotionally affected by the shooting however.
“I for the most part feel safe now,” said Jessica Dimas, a worker at a nearby Harkins theatre in North Valley, Az. “However, that is because there is usually a sheriff on duty. The theatre now has a stronger security on the weekends (since the shooting.)” Not only has the Aurora shooting had an effect on customers’ feeling of security, but also on procedures at nationwide theatres.
Many theatres, especially those showing movies with violence, will be equipped with metal detectors. The movie theater chains will certainly enforce these restrictions across the country in order to protect against country in order to protect against lawsuits according to Gene Grabowski, the leading crisis management expert of the Levick Strategic Communications.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, midnight premieres, which, “have played a key role in boosting a movie’s overall weekend rebut”, have been a common event since the opening night of Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace in 1999.
The money boosting midnight showings came to a halt because of costumers’ hesitation and fear after the Aurora shooting. This decrease in midnight premiere popularity caused many theatres to begin showing premieres earlier than midnight.
“Aside from having metal detectors and pat people down, like at the airport, I don’t know that you can ever make the movie theatre really secure,” said ASU Journalism Professor, Christina Estes. “The way things are now are okay, I would just want people to be looking out for each other.”
Smith described a safer way would be to make sure the escape routes are more visible.
Theatres seem to have the same ideas in mind. “(Since the shooting) the theatre put up ‘no gun and no weapons’ sign,” said Dimas.
Despite the hesitation, the majority of moviegoers don’t let the emotional effects of the shooting stop them from attending the movie theatre. ”
“I’ve always been a moviegoer so i got to keep going,” said Gonzales.
“If every act of violence kept us from leaving our house and living our lives, we wouldn’t go anywhere,” said Estes.