We are horrified at the news that a gunman opened fire at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, CO. The developing story makes one's stomach churn. You can read how the story unfolded in real time online and this equally tragic story of how victim Jessica Ghawi actually escaped a mass shooting at a mall in Toronto last month.
According to reports, James Holmes, 24, threw tear gas into a theater full of patrons watching "The Dark Knight Rises" before he began shooting, leaving 12 dead and 38 wounded. The police have him in custody. Holmes' apartment building was evacuated, and the ATF is searching his home for possible explosives.
As movie-lovers, this takes on an extra dimension: the movies are an escape and a catharsis, a safe space to laugh, cry and even be scared with other people. We're sitting in the dark with strangers that we have perhaps nothing in common with except the love of movies, and in this case, the fact that we've been eagerly awaiting this movie's release since the last installation of Batman's adventures four years ago. There's an unspoken trust. No matter how much we might complain about ticket prices or texting or talking in the movies, we still go because it is a small, everyday joy.
While there is no way to emphasize how horrible this event was in and of itself, its effects on the loved ones of the victims and the people who survived, it takes on an extra bitter tang for how it will effect our feelings about movie-going in the future. Obviously, this was merely an opportunity for one sick person to wreak havoc on the most amount of people he could think of at once, without any correlation to the movie itself, but it irrevocably stains the excitement of opening weekend.
And it puts everything into perspective, from box office watching to all the glitz and glamor of worldwide premieres. Warner Bros. has done the honorable thing by canceling the Paris premiere.