By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
Though Friday's shooting at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., shocked moviegoers, most said they wouldn't be swayed from checking out the film on opening weekend.
Jennifer Simpson, 39, of Bethesda, Md., woke up early to see the 10:35 a.m. showing of The Dark Knight Rises at the AMC Tysons Corner 16 in McLean, Va.. Though she acknowledged the tragedy, she said she will never let fear keep her from living her life.
"We are talking about one terrible guy," Simpson said. "It would be ridiculous to think he was stationing people at theaters throughout the country to shoot moviegoers."
People at Regal Opry Mills Theater in Nashville were likewise concerned about the Colorado shooting but still planned to attend.
Mark Isabel of Nashville was there this morning buying tickets for the 6 p.m. show. He planned to attend with his children, ages 15 and 17.
In New Jersey, Chris True, 26, a Monmouth University graduate student from the Oakhurst section of Ocean Township, expressed shock at the news of the shooting when he arrived at the AMC Loews Monmouth Mall 15 theater this morning.
"That is madness," he said, but added, "As far as I'm concerned, one such incident somewhere can't stop you from living your life. Had it been something that occurred all over, it would have been different."
"It's just very sad," said Texas Hoover, 21, a New York City resident whose parents live in Asbury Park, N.J. He put the danger of the shootings in perspective. "You're more likely to die driving to the theater," he said.
Duncan Eaton, 17, was working the concession stand before an 11 a.m. showing of the film at the Palace 9 in South Burlington, Vt.
"It's really scary because nobody knows a motive," Eaton said of the Colorado mass shooting. "I work at a theater, and my first thought was, 'This could have happened anywhere.' "
In Springfield, Mo., Linda Bava, 21, said seeing the film like she had planned despite the shootings is about carrying on with life.
"It affected me emotionally, but I still go to school, I still drive," Bava said, adding that she had almost cried watching news coverage earlier in the day.
Ben Lingard, who is stationed at Louisiana's Barksdale Air Force Base, proudly sported his Batman T-shirt as he and his wife, Ruth, went to see the movie this morning at the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City.
"It's an isolated incident," Ben Lingard said. "I didn't think twice" about going to the theater.
"It's always in the back of your mind, what can happen," said Doug Garino of Reno. "But you don't change your life. You can't live in fear, and I'm not going to."
Theater managers, most of whom learned of the slayings this morning, reviewed security plans as the Batman movie played on multiple screens.
"We do have a police officer who works during the weekends, but it is possible that we'll have more officers and have them come in earlier," said Madeline Bischoff, an assistant manager at Premiere Oaks 10 Theaters in Melbourne, Fla., where 1,200 people turned out for midnight showings of the movie on eight screens.
The Rave Movie Theater in Viera, Fla., where the movie drew several hundred people early today, was also reviewing security plans. "We will have security, too, as well as two officers," said Austin Davis, an assistant manager.
Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines will continue to have security present 24 hours a day but has not beefed up the presence, said general manager Joe Murdock. "We try to be vigilant and look for anything that may be suspicious," Murdock said.
In Naples, Fla., Silverspot Cinema at the Mercato shopping center asked center security officers to stop by the 11-theater multiplex more frequently. The cinema is screening The Dark Knight Rises in three theaters, and was nearly sold out for midnight showings.
"We're trying to keep it business as usual because we don't want to cause any heightened fears," manager Rob Cairns said.
The Dark Knight Rises will continue to play at the Indiana State Museum's IMAX theater, one of four Indianapolis-area IMAX theaters scheduled to show the film.
The venue has always had 24-hour on-site security, Craig Mince, theater manager, said. "We're ready for that type of situation," Mince said.
Terrell Braly, CEO of Cinebarre, which owns five theater/restaurant combinations (in Salem, Ore.; Denver; Asheville, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; and Seattle), is not adding security or making any changes in reaction to the shooting.
"Our view is that this is, of course, a senseless, horrible tragedy, but we don't feel in any way shape or form that it reflects on the movie, which is a terrific movie.
"Nobody was inspired by anybody in the movie because it hadn't come out yet," he said. "It's not a reflection on the movie or the theater, it's just a horrible thing that happened."
Contributing: Marty Roney, The Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser; Sara Sleyster, The Des Moines Register; J.D. Gallop, Florida Today, Melbourne; Tom Wilemon, The Tennessean, Nashville; Ken Serrano, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press; Lindsay Downey, The News-Press,Fort Myers, Fla.; Jonathan Shorman, Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader; Catherine Boudreau, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press; Kallen Hessel, Indianapolis Star; Tracy Loew, Salem, Ore., Statesman Journal; Alison Bath; The Times, Shreveport; Bill O'Driscoll, Reno Gazette-Journal; Jessica Tully, USA TODAY