Colo. carnage doesn’t scare away film fans here

Posted: July 21, 2012

The shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater Friday morning shocked and horrified Philadelphia residents. But for fans of the Batman story, or of movies in general, it wasn't enough to keep them out of the theater.

"I don't think it's a huge conspiracy, people targeting Dark Knight screenings or anything like that," said Davan Turner, 22, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I thought for a second, 'Oh, God, what if there's more?' " said her friend Tiffanie King. But the fear was soon replaced by excitement as King and Turner arrived for a matinee show at the Rave theater in University City.

Kristin Gorham, 29, of West Oak Lane, was having second thoughts about taking her daughter, Kaylyn, to see the film. "I'll be really cautious about where I am and when I go. And I'll pay a lot of attention to my surroundings," she said.

It was too early to tell how the tragedy would affect box office sales. But many Philadelphia screenings of The Dark Knight Rises were sold out Friday, and several theater chains said they weren't making sweeping changes.

The Franklin Institute, which is hosting " Dark Knight 'til Dawn" screenings at midnight, 3 a.m., and 6 a.m. all weekend, said in a statement that additional security measures were in place.

At the UA Riverview Plaza theater on Columbus Boulevard, some patrons said there was more security than usual - including four walk-throughs by security officers during the 2:20 p.m. screening of Dark Knight.

An officer at the theater said the company pays to have a city police presence every weekend, and Friday was no different.

If the shooting did dissuade anyone from seeing the movie, fans said they would be missing out.

Shawn Moore, wearing a Batman T-shirt outside Riverview Plaza, declared it "the greatest movie ever made, in the history of movies."

His brother, Dana Moore, agreed. "The movie is too good to let [the shootings] bring it down."

Keyanna Butler, 24, a student at Kutztown University, said the magic of the trilogy comes from "the intensity of Batman's character, what he goes through to become this hero that no one really wants."

Harold Burnett, 28, came to the midnight showing at Riverview Plaza and returned with six friends for the 2:15 p.m. show.

"Last night was a much more celebratory atmosphere," with viewers dressing up, clapping, and cheering, Burnett said. Friday, he said, the vibe was "stranger" but no less excited.

Burnett and his friends said they showed up expecting to be frisked. "I wasn't concerned about a copycat [shooting], I was concerned about them stealing my candy," said Greg Stoloski, 28.

The group didn't think the shooting had anything to do with this particular movie. "I think it was just an opportunity for a crowd," Stoloski said.

Sharon Defelice, 66, is a frequent moviegoer who said the shootings say more about society than about the Dark Knight films. "We're a gun culture. It just reinforces that we have to get these guns off the streets."

"It's just one maniac," said Joseph Murray, 28, of Northeast Philadelphia. "He's getting his 15 minutes of fame, and that's the worst part."


Contact Jessica Parks at 215-854-2771 or jparks@philly.com.

Inquirer staff writer Jonathan Lai contributed to this article.

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