You’re at the movie theater, excited to watch one of the summer’s biggest superhero movies. Suddenly, a man walks in dressed in black and wearing body armor. He’s carrying what appears to be an assault rifle, and he has at least one other visible firearm on his body.
Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the exact scene that Dark Knight Rises moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., faced as accused killer James Holmes walked in and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 58 others, on July 20, 2012.
It’s also the scene an Iron Man 3 audience in Jefferson City, Mo., encountered this past weekend. This time, however, it was all part of a “publicity stunt” and no one was hurt — physically, at least.
Unsurprisingly, however, members of that evening’s audience are very upset. Some called 911 as it happened. Now, local police are reported to be questioning the individuals responsible for the stunt.
The owners of Capital 8 Theaters in Jefferson City are refusing to apologize for what they say was a harmless, staged event “planned months in advance.”
Only a few moviegoers were upset, they say, and hundreds were entertained.
ABC 17 News asked theater owner Bob Wilkins if he regretted the stunt and he said, “No, my job is to entertain people.”
In fairness, the full details of the stunt indicate the audience probably should have realized their lives were never in danger. Multiple actors in combat gear were reported to be present at the theater over the weekend, harmlessly interacting with another actor in an Iron Man costume, as well as with audience members.
According to comments posted online by one person who claims to have been present that evening, the guns were “obviously plastic, with bright orange tips and one with a completely clear outer case” and “there was in fact an off-duty cop at the theater.”