There’s an old saying: any publicity is good publicity. This, though, might be just a tad over the line. A movie theater in Jefferson City, Missouri paid a man to walk into a showing of the new Iron Man 3 movie wearing “tactical gear” and carrying what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle. The man was part of a group of actors who were at the movie theater (pictured above via Reddit). But in a dark room and with memories of Aurora still fairly fresh in people’s minds, things could have gotten a little hairy. Which they did, when the police were called, reporting an active shooting incident. Oh, and just FYI, Missouri is a “shall issue” state that honors permits from almost every other state in the union. The local ABC news station has more . . .
During the opening weekend of the latest ‘Iron Man’ movie, a man walked into the theater in full tactical gear and carrying a fake gun.
Jefferson City police and witnesses, however, are not pleased with the stunt and are questioning the theater’s logic after recent shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn.
John Molock is a retired Army war veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He told ABC 17 News this most recent trip to the movies triggered memories he never wanted to relive.
“We had just finished watching Iron Man 3,” said Morlock. “We’re just getting into the car when I spotted a man in full assault gear, carrying what appeared to be a modified M-4 and 9 mm on his side.”
Morlock did not call police, but several other moviegoers did.
“We received a series of 911 calls stating that a man dressed in all black and body armor and a rifle was walking into Capital 8 Theaters,” said Capt. Doug Shoemaker.
Officers thought they were responding to an active shooter investigation.
“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” said Shoemaker. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”
Instead, it was all part of a publicity stunt for the movie opening. The man in tactical gear was an actor carrying a fake gun.
Capital 8 Theaters manager Bob Wilkins told ABC 17 News this was planned months in advance and only a few people were upset, but hundreds were entertained.
The local news station is playing up the “PR stunt to drive sales” angle here, but they do have a point. What would you do if, in the middle of a superhero-themed movie, some guy walks in and looks, for all intents and purposes, to be about to shoot the place up?
Apparently this theater makes a habit of paying actors to dress up as characters from the films, which they apparently think adds something to the whole movie experience. Something that can’t be had by downloading the flicks and watching them at home. And while that may be the case, a quick warning beforehand might have been in order. Especially given the circumstances.