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Downriver Theater Chains React to Deadly Shooting

AMC Theatres and MJR Theatres are making policy changes in light of Colorado massacre.

Area movie theaters are differing on their policy changes in light of Friday's deadly shooting spree in Aurora, CO, that left 12 people killed.

AMC Theatres, which operates a location in Dearborn, and MJR Theatres, with operations in Allen Park and Southgate, are making noticeable changes.

AMC is now banning face-covering masks and fake weapons from inside their buildings. MJR is banning all masks and costumes from being worn inside their theaters.

Costumes are sometimes popular attire for customers attending midnight showings of big releases, such as The Dark Knight Rises.

Emagine Theatres: 'No Reasonable Level of Security Would Have Effectively Addressed the Tragedy That Unfolded in Aurora'

Emagine Entertainment CEO Paul Glantz said in a statement that "no reasonable level of security would have effectively addressed the tragedy that unfolded in Aurora, Colorado" last night, when a 24-year-old gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more at the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie.

Locally, Emagine operates a theater in Woodhaven.

After expressing his sympathy for the victims, Glantz states that security of its guests is Emagines' foremost responsibility and urges movie-goers to "view such events in the context of a historical perspective."

"Just as no realistic building code provision could save a building from a direct hit by a 747, no practical security measures are sufficient to preclude a madman intent on committing mass murder," Glantz says in the statement.

Glantz's full statement follows:

"Emagine Entertainment, Inc. and its affiliates would like to express its deepest sympathy to the victims and family members of those subjected to the senseless acts of violence at Century’s theatre in Aurora, Colorado last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those suffering from the heinous act of a deranged individual."

"It is important for the movie-going public to view such events in the context of a historical perspective. Since the beginning of mankind, there have been innumerable instances of such violence. For example, going back to 1927, 38 school children and 6 adults were killed in a bomb attack on an elementary school in Bath Township, Michigan. Hundreds of millions of school children have since attended school without incident, though in another isolated incident, 12 students and 1 teacher were killed in 1999 at Columbine High School. On the face of things, it might appear that one is far less safe in a public setting today. However, the reality is that the U.S. population has almost tripled since 1927. There is no empirical evidence to show that non-terrorist related mass violence has grown more than in proportion to the population during such timeframe. Moreover, the increase in media coverage and instantaneous reporting of such stories is far more pronounced in a 21st Century digital age."

"Emagine considers the safety and security of its guests its foremost responsibility. Emagine has emergency alarms and lighting systems in all of its venues. Emagine maintains a sophisticated surveillance system throughout all of it properties, as well. Emagine leaders regular train their staff on emergency evacuation protocols and procedures. Emagine also employs dedicated security personnel at all of its venues during peak times. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is important to recognize that no reasonable level of security would have effectively addressed the tragedy that unfolded in Aurora, Colorado last evening. Just as no realistic building code provision could save a building from a direct hit by a 747, no practical security measures are sufficient to preclude a madman intent on committing mass murder."

"Movie-going remains one of America’s most prolific forms of out-of-home entertainment. Americans love going to the movies and Emagine is committed to making each of its guests’ experiences truly exemplary. Again, Emagine and its leadership team extend its heartfelt sympathy to the innocent victims in Colorado and to our industry brethren, Century Theatres."

MJR Theaters: 'Employees Will Be More Diligent and Aware' After Colorado Theater Tragedy

The owner of MJR Theatres says it will not have any extra security measures in place this weekend after a 24-year-old gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater near Denver, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.

Mike Mihalich said his employees at the company's eight area locations will be more dilligent and aware, however.

"I've been in this business for 45 years and this is the first time this has ever happened in this industry," Mihalich said. "It doesn't appear that this guy is tied to any terrorist groups so it doesn't appear that this is going to happen across the country. We're diligent, we're going to be aware of it and check our exit doors more frequently, but as far as ramping up security, I dont have any plans to do that this weekend."

According to officials and media reports, the Denver suspect walked into the movie theater through a back exit door that was propped open with a rifle and several other guns. He is being initially identified as James Holmes, from the Denver suburb of Aurora, according to the Today Show.

A Denver police spokesman this morning told Matt Lauer that 10 people died inside the theater and two more died at a local hospital. The spokesman also said the condition of those injured ranges from minor to serious. He said "early indications" are that the gunman acted alone.

Holmes is suspected of entering a movie theater in Aurora dressed all in black, carrying a rifle and handgun and wearing a bullet proof vest and gas mask around 12:30 a.m., where the new Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," was being screened, and opening fire, the Huffington Post reports.

In the third installment of the Batman trilogy, a villan named Bane wears a bullet-proof vest and gas mask.

The Huffington Post reported that Warner Brothers had canceled its 'Dark Knight' Paris premeire because of the violence in Colorado.

Mihalich said while he doesn't expect a drop in ticket sales this weekend, he wouldn't be surprised if some people chose to stay home from the movies.

"This is a different kind of audience and hardcore Batman fans will come out and see it," he said.

Mihalich said he's very sensitive about the fact the shooting happened in a theater.

"I've contacted everybody this morning and said, look, this guy apparently got in through an exit door he had propped open earlier," he said. "We do periodically go around the building and check the exit doors, but we're going to do that more frequently. We also have extensive camera systems in all of our buildings. I'm a hands-on owner and I'm very concerned about the welfare and safety of my employees and my patrons. Anything I have to do to ensure that, I'll do."

AMC Theatres: No Face-Covering Masks or Fake Weapons Allowed

The AMC Theatres chain released this statement Friday afternoon:

"AMC Theatres is deeply saddened by the Aurora tragedy. Movie going is part of our social fabric and this senseless act shakes us to our core. 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. We couldn’t be more grateful for their collective support.

"At this time, our show schedules circuit-wide will not change. We will not allow any guests into our theatres in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings. If guests wish to exchange or refund any tickets, we will honor our existing policy and do as our guests wish. We are taking necessary precautions to ensure our guests who wish to enjoy a movie this weekend can do so with as much peace of mind as possible in these circumstances."

Stephanie Keffer July 21, 2012 at 03:01 PM
While this is an isolated incident the first thing that popped in my mind was how we use to sneak into the Allen park theatre through the emergency doors all the time. They are not secure and this wack job must of known so. securing doors that are not acesssible from the outside is about all they can do.
Tom Skyler July 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Silly to ban costumes .... Costumes didn't hurt anyone or have any to do with this .... If they want to step up security or scan for weapons that's ok I guess but banning costumes is silly

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