Though The Dark Knight Rises played to mostly full houses in its opening weekend, the horrific shooting rampage at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colo., has raised moviegoers’ anxieties as theaters and audiences remain on edge for fear of copycat criminals. “I have to admit that as we were walking to the theater from the car I thought where should we sit that gives us the best chance of escape should there be a copycat,” says Will Kilfoyle, 37, a first grade teacher in Sacramento, Calif., who saw the film on Friday night. “The thought crossed my mind even though I am fully aware that the chance of me getting struck by lightening is probably higher.”
Kilfoyle is not alone. In Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Friday night, a man who appeared inebriated and acted strangely during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises was arrested after a confrontation caused “mass hysteria” as people fled the theater, according to the Associated Press. Michael William Borboa, 27, who had entered the theater with a backpack, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, and threatening and intimidating. No weapons were found in Borboa’s backpack, which held only alcohol containers.
On Sunday afternoon, another man with a backpack was arrested when he began making threatening comments before a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Norwalk, Calif. Clark Tabor, 52, allegedly complained aloud about the movie not beginning soon enough. “I should go off like in Colorado,” and “Does anybody have a gun?” he yelled, witnesses told the Associated Press. Tabor was arrested for making criminal threats and was being held on $50,000 bail.
AMC Theaters, the chain that hosted the Norwalk event, has banned audience members from carrying fake weapons or wearing “face-concealing masks” to shows, and there was a more visible police presence in many theaters across the country this past weekend. While there might be a reflexive reaction to add even more security, like metal detectors and bag checks, such measures might be as ineffective as they would be intrusive. (Aurora shooter James Holmes allegedly brought his weapons in through a side door.) “That would ultimately take the fun out of going to the movies,” said Brittany Hoagland, 25, who saw the film at a Los Angeles theater. “No one wants the movies to become like the airport.”
[Reporting by Carrie Bell and Karen Valby.]