By Cassandra Khan, CBS Tampa

With the tragic shooting rampage that took place in Aurora, Col., theaters around Tampa Bay are taking extra measures to make theater patrons feel safe. The horrific incident that unfolded during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises has prompted increased security across the board for theaters in the area.

Both Muvico and AMC theaters released statements on their respective websites expressing thoughts and prayers for anyone touched by the Aurora shootings, as well as encouraging messages that the movie-goers safety is their number one priority.

Muvico, which owns four theaters around the bay area, stated that anywhere there are large crowds there is a potential for reckless violence, and that the company takes that seriously in their theaters.

“We long ago have implemented pro-active procedure to reduce the risks posed by these unpredictable and random acts and the devastation the cause,” the statement read. “With the help of our professional risk management consultants, Muvico has in place at all of our theaters well-developed emergency policies and procedures to allow us to respond promptly and effectively to threats of violence, to their occurrence and to their aftermath. We are diligent in periodically training and re-training our theater teams and in updating and improving our contingency plans. The tragic and shocking events in Aurora have already prompted a review of those plans in light of events there.”

AMC Theaters stated that they were going to show the films as scheduled, but would be stepping up security. Movie patrons will not be allowed to wear costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable, wear face-covering masks, or bring fake weapons.

The AMC statement went on to state: “We’re reinforcing our security procedures with our theatre teams, which we cannot discuss in detail for obvious, safety reasons. Local law enforcement agencies, our landlords and their and our local security teams are stepping up nationwide to ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our guests.”

An article in the Tampa Tribune quoted Howard Edelman, manager of Channelside Cinemas, as saying, “We’re hiring extra police the whole weekend to help people feel more secure. Anyone with a package or pocketbook will be wanded … It’s the safest thing we can do under the current situation.”

In that same article, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said that the police have not received any indication that there will be any threats against Bay Area movie-goers this weekend, but that they “will increase patrols around Tampa theaters in an abundance of caution.” It is common for the theaters in the area to hire off-duty police officers to patrol movie theaters on the weekend.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has already said publicly that there will be extra police around New York theaters this weekend.

The release of The Dark Knight Rises, the last film in the Christopher Nolan directed franchise, has been highly anticipated. Online ticket sales site Fandango announced Thursday that advanced ticket sales sold out over 2,000 theaters. The film made $30 million at the midnight box office Thursday evening– the second biggest midnight debut ever.

These numbers, however, are overshadowed by the Aurora tragedy left 12 people dead and 50 more people injured, some critically, from the shooting.




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