Colorado theater reopening divides town
AURORA — The Colorado cinema where 12 people were killed and dozens injured in a shooting rampage nearly six months ago reopened on Thursday with a remembrance ceremony and a private screening of the fantasy film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” for survivors — but for some Aurora victims, the pain is still too much, the idea too horrific.
Several families boycotted what they called a callous public relations ploy by the theater's owner, Cinemark. They claimed the Texas-based company — which has been publicly silent since the July 20 shooting — didn't ask them what should happen to the theater. They said Cinemark emailed them an invitation to the reopening just two days after they struggled through Christmas without their loved ones.
“It was boilerplate Hollywood — ‘Come to our movie screening,'” said Anita Busch, whose cousin, 23-year-old college student Micayla Medek, died at the theater.
Others, like Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, said the event was part of the healing process and that many residents wanted to see the theater back up and running.
James Holmes, a former neuroscience Ph.D. student, is charged with 166 felony counts, mostly murder and attempted murder, in the July 20 shootings at the former Century 16 — now the Century Aurora. A judge ordered Holmes to stand trial, but he won't enter a plea until March.
First responders to the massacre, Hogan, Gov. John Hickenlooper and religious leaders were to join survivors at the multiplex for the event.
In addition to the “Hobbit” screening, theater placards featured “Trouble With the Curve,” ‘'Cloud Atlas,” ‘'The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and other films for the weekend.
Victims have filed at least three federal lawsuits against Cinemark, alleging it should have provided security for the midnight “The Dark Knight Rises” showing, and that an exit door used by the gunman to get his weapons and re-enter should have had an alarm. In court papers, Cinemark says the tragedy was “unforeseeable and random.”
Hogan noted that the community grieves and heals in different ways but insisted that most Aurora residents wanted to reopen the theater.
“For those who don't want to be there, who can't be there, I understand and respect that,” Hogan said. “For us here, the larger community if you will, it is part of the healing process.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Getty heir wrote last month of alleged ‘grave risk’ of death
- Feds won’t prosecute former IRS official Lerner for contempt
- Obama targets cyber attackers with sanctions
- New York City police detective loses badge over Uber driver rage
- California issues mandatory water restrictions
- Feds arrest guardsman, cousin for terror plot on military facility
- National park entry fees on rise as summer nears
- Rendell defends role in speeding up visas
- House panel bans private emails by IRS
- Veterans Affairs construction chief retires amid criticism over project delays, ballooning costs
- Keep Gitmo prisoners swapped for Bergdahl out of fight, senator says