Some Twin Cities theaters take extra precautions

  • Article by: MASAKO HIRSCH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2012 - 10:49 PM

If some Minnesotans stayed away from theaters out of fear after the deadly shooting at a Colorado cinema, many more took their place at "The Dark Knight Rises."

If some Minnesotans stayed away from theaters out of fear after the deadly shooting at a Colorado cinema, many more took their place and filled the Woodbury 10 Theatre Friday afternoon.

Two lines of moviegoers stretched across the theater in eager anticipation of a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," as others bought popcorn and played arcade games. Some of those at the theater said they had some fear, but it didn't stop them from going to the movie anyway.

"I love Batman. I want to see the movie, but I'm still cautious," said Jasmine Poe of Oakdale.

While Woodbury's staff said they weren't taking any additional precautions after a gunman killed 12 and wounded at least 59 others in a midnight screening of the movie in Aurora, Colo., other Twin Cities theaters hiked up security measures to ensure safety.

AMC Theatres, which runs seven theaters in Minnesota, issued a statement Friday saying that they would not allow any face-covering masks, fake weapons or costumes that made other moviegoers uncomfortable. They also said they would "honor our existing policy" if customers wanted to refund or exchange tickets.

"We're reinforcing our security procedures with our theatre teams, which we cannot discuss in detail for obvious safety reasons," the statement said.

The Theatres at the Mall of America also added extra precautions, according to Dan Jasper, a mall spokesman. He said he couldn't comment on what they are, but said moviegoers might notice some, while others might be less evident.

For other theaters, like Woodbury, staff were sticking to regular procedures, and officials with both the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments said they had no plans to add their own security, which is being done in New York and other cities. Terrell Mayton, marketing director for Carmike Cinemas, said the chain already has a wide variety of measures in place.

"This doesn't really change the dynamic of how diligent we are in our security," he said.

Moviegoers at Muller Family Theatres' eight locations won't see any additional measures either, said owner Mike Muller. He added that attendance Friday was "very good for expectations."

Nate Herzberg, a Woodbury employee, said he doesn't think the shooting makes movie theaters unsafe. "There's college shootings, but it doesn't stop people from going to college," he said.

Also Friday, Gov. Mark Dayton ordered all state buildings to lower flags to half-staff Saturday to honor the victims.

Masako Hirsch • 612-673-4263

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