Way back in 2005 my husband surprised my son and I with tickets to the midnight showing of Batman Begins. My son, only 10 and not allowed to stay up that late on a regular basis, was completely and totally thrilled. We were on vacation and as a result got to see the film on a Super IMAX screen. The experience was just amazing. Seven years later it is still a special memory.
By the time The Dark Knight came out our town had built an IMAX, so I took my son to a midnight showing of that movie as well. He was excited about being able to see both films on an IMAX at midnight and started talking about seeing the third movie the same way before we were even seated for the second one. Needless to say, I bought tickets for Dark Knight Rises back in June to ensure that he was able to see all the premieres at midnight in an IMAX theater. It was a silly thing to be excited about I guess but we are a family of nerds and movie buffs and this is the type of thing that makes us happy. In order to guarantee good seats Michael got there by 8:30 pm. He had a fellow fanatic seated next to him (duh) and the two were able to pass the time discussing all the films they mutually loved as well as their expectations for this one. Anyone who has been to a midnight showing knows this is not just your typical movie outing. The fans are beyond excited. Many dress in costumes. The atmosphere is festive and jubilant.
The folks in Aurora, CO understood that. Stories which have highlighted the victims excitement at being at the midnight showing of this highly anticipated movie have emerged over the last several days. My heart has ached as I realized their sentiments echo all the thoughts and feelings my own family was expressing just hours and minutes before the showing. Jessica Ghawi jokingly called a co-worker a “loser” for not attending the showing. Alex Sullivan tweeted “#TheDarkKnightRises @Reel_Nerds oh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever. Gordon W. Cowden took his two teenage children to the event, much like my husband took our teen son.
All the joy and anticipation of that night has been swallowed up in our collective sorrow. That is as it should be – this is a horrific, sorrowful event. And in many ways, the gunman created a thirteenth victim. He turned the movie itself into a subject of fear and angst. The reporters of Hollywood.com express some of my own feelings here. As someone who did not get to see the film till Friday afternoon, I can tell you the theater experience was a bit surreal. Everyone was very subdued. The cinema itself was quiet, even at the concessions stand. Whether you were seeing The Dark Knight Rises or Ice Age: The Meltdown you stuck with your group. I had been concerned about parking; the weekend The Dark Knight came out you had to park way out in the secondary lot for the theater and cross a street and a second parking lot in order to enter the cinema. Friday I parked with ease, within a few feet from the entrance. I really hope that this is not a sign of things to come. During this exceptionally hot and dry summer the movies have provided a cool, relaxing place for family and friends to gather and forget their problems for a few hours. How awful if we allow a violent, cruel person to take that from us.
So while I spent a very sad and depressed weekend, watching way more news footage than I should have I also managed to do one positive thing: I went to the movies and reclaimed the experience. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I normally do, but that was to be expected. I have no doubt that it will be awhile before I enter a theater again without thinking about what happened in Colorado. I also think I will worry a lot more whenever a family member goes on their own. But I think it is important that we not let this man take from us what is overwhelmingly a positive, fun experience. I will watch every movie I planned to this summer. And I will probably go back and see Dark Knight Rises again. I’ve loved Batman since childhood. I am not going to let a disturbed individual change that.
How about you? How do you feel about the movies in the wake of what has happened?
– Maggie AAR