Reporting Beth Fisher
OAK PARK (WWJ) - Changes are in place at a chain of local movie theatres following the Colorado theatre shootings, including what you can and cannot wear.
WWJ’s Beth Fisher reports MJR Theaters, based in Oak Park, is banning masks and costumes at its nine Metro Detroit theater locations.
“We get a fair amount of people dressing up when we have these special shows prior to the openings of these big movies, like Harry Potter or Twilight or The Hunger Games, so, we kind of want to see who we’re dealing with,” said MJR owner Mike Mihalich.
But all that’s about to change — especially after James Holmes walked into a midnight showing of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado, dressed in black and wearing a gas mask, and opened fire on the crowded theatre. Twelve people died and 58 were injured in the attack.
While he believes the massacre was an isolated incident, Mihalich said the shooter went unnoticed most likely because it looked like he was wearing a costume.
“When he came in, he had a gas mask on. But the thing is that a lot of the people are dressed up as characters and it didn’t look that out of the ordinary,” said Mihalich.
“At 11 in the morning or four o’clock in the afternoon show, he’d stand out like a sore thumb and you can rest assured we’d stop him and see what’s going on. But to walk in in a midnight show when there’s thousands of people, I mean in my Marketplace building we had 3,800 people for midnight and I would say three to four hundred of them were some type of costume,” he continued.
To protect moviegoers at his theatres, Mihalich said effective immediately, MJR patrons will not be allowed entry to a movie if they are decked out in costume or hiding their face behind a mask.
Meantime, police have increased their patrols around some Metro Detroit movie theaters in the wake of the shootings. Read more, here.