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First there was the flame-haired James Holmes mowing down ‘Batman’ fans in Aurora. Then, more recently, John Houser stood up during a screening of ‘Trainwreck’, murdering two and injuring nine in Lafayette before putting out his own lights. Now comes Vincent Montano (above) to a screening of ‘Mad Max’ with his pellet gun, pepper spray and a hatchet. Exactly what his plan was is anyone’s guess at this point. The common thread: all three were certifiable (if not certified), with clear histories of mental illness. Or as Montano was described, they all “had significant psychiatric or psychological issues.” And then there are the venues they chose for their magnum opuses . . .

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If we were living in an Oliver Stone film, a flawed but persistent hero would struggle against entrenched interests to discover that this has all been orchestrated by the greedy, malign powers at Netflix and Amazon in an effort to drive the movie consuming public from theaters and keep them streaming at home, safe in front of their flat screens. But here in the real world, a more likely explanation is that a couple of uniquely broken individuals chose to emulate Holmes’ psychotic plot in an effort to etch their own names into immortality.

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But what about the rest of us? You can quote the infinitesimal odds of being involved in something like these incidents until you’re blue in the face, but with now three high profile events taking place in the dark while people munched their popcorn and sipped their ICEEs – two within the last two weeks – that can’t be good for the screening business.

What’s a theater operator to do? Rick Perry’s called for an end to gun-free zones, but it’s hard to see that, in and of itself, being reassuring enough for your average skittish gun muggle to want to buy a ticket. It may even have the opposite effect. And even if theaters do relax their carry policies, it would seem that at least some will also want to take more visible, active measures to give customers at least a superficial sense of safety (and limited potential liability).

Will that mean armed rent-a-cops in lobbies? The security theater (so to speak) of metal detectors and pat-downs as you enter your local cineplex? Will any of that be enough? And will the movie-going public be willing to endure searches just to sit through ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’? What’s your take?

95 Responses to What’s Next for Movie Theaters?

  1. It occurs to me I haven’t been to a movie in ten years…

    I can only imagine all the great stuff I’ve missed.

    • I go very seldom. Usually watch later when the movie comes out on Redbox, Netflix or Vudu. After looking at the review from others that have seen the movie I often don’t watch it at all. Many of the directors, producers and actors seem to be gun grabbing socialists. I feel no compelling need to support them with my $.

    • I couldn’t begin to guess your age by your comment but it would most likely place you in the the twenties to thirty something group and I’m not really sure if they still do it but when I was a kid , you would take your girl to the movies and sit in as dark an area as you could find to get a smooch or two and maybe even a little feel but there was always A OLD GUY WITH A FLASHLIGHT ready to bust your ba_ls .
      Give the old guy with the flashlight a new tactical light with 600 lumens and a strobe and a PISTOL .

      • Give the old guy with the flashlight a new tactical light with 600 lumens and a strobe and a PISTOL .

        This is quite possibly the ONE scenario where the attacker would almost certainly target the highly visible, openly armed person first. Remember, all spree killers are there to kill no matter what and most of them expect to die in the resulting chaos and law enforcement response. In that scenario, the spree killer is more than happy to “risk” not surviving their engagement with an armed usher.

        • Wait ………. anyone born before 1965 can tell you that the old guy with the flashlight was magical and invisible , until you did something you weren’t supposed to do , like throw popcorn or mess around and then he was just there ……………….. really , he was magic . A killer would never see OGWF until he pulled out his own gun or ax or condom or whatever it was at started trouble and then ………..BLAM , killer down . Probably dragged out back in the alley too . The show must go on .

      • Yup. I was born in 1980. I remember what you’re talking about but just barely.

        When I was a kid I saw most of the great 80s action movies in the theater with my mom. Those days are gone

        Got Netflix now

    • Took 2 of my grand kids to see Minions. 30 bucks to get in the door and that was before the snack bar.

      The cost of going to the movies nowadays is a bigger deterrence than running into a nut job.

      • For thirty bucks, you could get the Blu-ray DVD (when available) and have enough left to buy plenty of popcorn. And have the ability to watch it again!

        • Define “babysitter”. My kids have never paid a dime for someone to watch their spawn. They dial 1-800-goodtime- Poppa.

          Have I told you I love being a grandparent? Way cooler than being a parent.

        • Just make sure to not accidentally dial 1-900-goodtime-Poppa. That’s a whole different experience.

    • I’m almost positive that there are merchandising subliminal messages buried in all that annoying Minion-speak. Personally, I’m extremely tired of seeing & hearing those chattering yellow jellybeans with severe ADHD everywhere. Hearing adult children actually trying to talk like them in Walmart is even worse.

    • My wife loves those little Minion characters , I’ve watched both flicks with the grand kids and thought they were pretty funny but my wife thinks they are the greatest so I’m looking for a Minion colored pistol preferably in a caliber between 22 magnum and 9 mm or maybe a carbine with a banana clip . ……… wait , I already have some of those , I’ll just paint one bright yellow and re-gift .

  2. I guess metal detectors at movie theaters wouldn’t be a huge difference from going into a football or baseball game at a major stadium.

    • Word.

      Step 1. See anti-gun sign erected by liberal-progressive douchebags.

      Step 2. Ignore sign.

      Step 3. Keep calm and carry on with life.

      It works for a whole lot more than movies, which are usually overpriced and underwhelming.

      NSA / Law Enforcement side note: I always *observe* signs, although I factor in real-world issues such as metal detectors into the decision-making process.

      • Or do what I do.
        Step 1: See “No guns” sign.
        Step 2: Turn around and give someone else my business.

        I am of the opinion that if you ignore the sign and still patronize the business, you are just helping to enforce the thinking that guns are only owned and enjoyed by a small minority of Americans. I am willing to pay more or to go out of my way to patronize the businesses of those who observe our Constitution. Of course, I am lucky enough to be at a place in my life where I have to money to be discretionary about where I shop. But I do wish more people, and especially gun owners, were willing to stand up for their values.

  3. If theaters continue to insist on remaing “gun free zones”, then they should truly be gun free. Add metal detectors and armed police or security so not just the good guys are disarmed!

    • Last weekend at a Major League Baseball game, my friend offered to open my bag of peanuts with his pocket knife. A large, multi-blade folding knife, which he had in his pocket as he walked through the metal detectors. I remarked that his knife probably contained more metal than a Glock 43, and he agreed.

      Security theatre, indeed. Metal detectors are like gun-free-zone signs on steroids. More thorough disarmament of the victims without any inconvenience to the thugs.

  4. Will that mean armed rent-a-cops in lobbies?

    What good would that do? In this case, an actual police officer was present, and fired at the nut, within minutes. Then retreated, and let the SWAT unit clean up. 41 minutes later.

    Think a lobby rent-a-cop would do anything more assertive to end a threat?

    • But think of how it will make people feel to see armed “security” there!

      It’s all about the feels!

    • If I remember correctly, and maybe somebody can find the reference, shortly after James Holmes, there was an attempted copy cat in San Antonio that was stopped by a off-duty office that had carried her gun in the theater.

  5. I don’t know about others, but I have absolutely zero qualms about going to see a movie right now. However, if they put up metal detectors to disarm me on the way in, I’d rather just stay home. I barely tolerate it at the airport, and flying is much more important to my life than over-paying for movie theater popcorn.

  6. Lower prices by 3/4 across the board, serve good booze and good pizza, and I may roll the dice on a show. As it stands now, after paying a baby sitter, buying dinner and the movie tickets, it’s a $100+ evening. Better date nights can be had for less.

    • The problem with lowering prices is that the theaters actually see very little of the money you pay for the ticket, it all goes to the studio for something like 6 weeks. So they have to make their money on the popcorn, drinks, and candy.

    • Lower prices! That’s the ticket! (Pun intended.)

      Post a BIG sign at the ticket booth: “Ten percent discount on entrance and concessions if you show your CCW!”

      You don’t have to actually show that you are carrying, just show your permit. How many of these shoot-’em-up nut jobs are going to risk trying THAT theater?

  7. Straight Outta Compton opens next week. The media won’t be interested in theater shootings after that.

  8. Under no circumstance will I get disarmed at the theater. I’ll simply stay home.

    You wouldn’t go in a bar/club/restaurant that had a metal detector, would you? Any place attracting a crowd deserving of a metal detector is not somewhere I want to be. Ever.

  9. It’s the attention.

    Pathetic losers not capable of having an original idea about getting their minute of fame will copy others of the “prescription brotherhood”.

    If one jumps off a bridge and there is an article in the newspaper, or FOX News covers it, the other lemmings will soon follow. The poor, pathetic lost moonbats will and copy it, down to the backpacks.

    For now, it is theaters and churches. Next, maybe county fairs, school cafeterias or maybe outdoor concerts.

  10. Best option – buy stock in Amazon. We see how good the media does at creating copycats. Hell, the media and the politicians are making a ‘killing’ at this whole gun control scam…. might as well get in on the action.

  11. My theatre of choice is Ipic. More expensive, clean, VERY COMFY. You also get a waiter coming right to your seat. Appitizers for the price of full meals, but very tasty. Best of all, no gun free sign which holds the power of law here. I know people say “concealed means concealed”, but I can get into legal trouble that can jeopardize my job.

  12. What’s to see in a movie theater these days? Wasn’t it Al Pacino who said that the movies haven’t been worse in 50 years?

    This is not said to minimize the tragedies.

  13. I only attend a small, local non chain theatre, They only have three screens, but the tickets are only 7 bucks, and they don’t just allow, but welcome carry.

    • They frowned at us and made us feel very uncomfortable there when we started unloading my 50 Cal. out of the back of my pickup truck so we loaded everything back in and went home , but on the way back home I realized it was because my buddy was wearing a sleeveless shirt and had nothing to do with my carry choice .

  14. Never go to any show but matinees-but I see hatchet boy thought of that. If they EVER have metal detectors I’ll stay home.

  15. The is an armed and uniformed city police officer inside my local theater and it has been that way for years before the recent theater shootings. I never really understood his purpose to be anything other than to dissuade the kiddies on Friday and Saturday nights from being too boisterous.

    • Same here with the only local theater we go to (NC). I am not sure whether or not movie theaters are still GFZ’s by law in NC, but I think the local cop is there to (1) keep any youth/racial issues in check; and (2) there are thousands and thousands of dollars in cash at this place on busy night. I think this probably is the main reason for the LEO, and I would not be surprised if the theater owner paid the town for the coverage.

      • That’s always about what I figured since he seems to be just standing around for deterrent effects. And good point on the cash & robbery angle, never thought of that.

    • If people obeyed that sign, no one would go see most of the movies today! You have to be crazy to want to watch some of this drivel.

  16. The day going to a movie feels anything like going to the airport will be the day I stop going to the movies.

  17. I’ve tweeted both Carmike and Regal about this and have yet to receive a response. @ProfBangity on the tweets if you care to keep yourself posted on possible responses. If you don’t look at them AND they do respond, I’ll send a write-up to TTAG and you’ll get informed anyway.

  18. Support your nearest drive in.
    The one nearest my location is $5 admission for double feature. Ribeye sandwiches chilli cheese fries ad more at the snack bar are all under $5 and you can bring as many guns ammo and armor as your vehicle can carry.

    • I love West Virginia , there hasn’t been a drive in around here for 20 years . I would consider driving 300 miles to do what you just described . SERIOUSLY ! ………….. Let me know where this is . I have done a lot of stuff and been practically everywhere I can think of that I might want to go but this intrigues me . I think I would fire up the 63 Buick Special , throw some Brill Cream in my hair , and head on down .

        • Did they close the drive in on old rt. 52 by Ironton, Ohio? It was in Lawrence county, which was dry. If you wanted an adult beverage with your movie you had to “import” it.

      • Paris Kentucky is close enough , but do they have the Rib eye sandwiches and cheese fries ? …….. and ………………….. Yes , the old drive in in Sybene on old 52 closed about 1989 . It only showed old R rated junk stuff there the last few years anyway . I actually saw the original Star Wars movie there , then a couple years later I went and saw Flesh Gordon and The Groove Tube . Good memories . Her name was Jan Curry .

        • We didn’t go there for the movies. With the stacks from that old steel mill across the river in KY belching flames that yellowed out the screen it was hard to watch a movie there anyway.

        • you might as well throw out a few names , if you went there in the 70’s , we may have punched the same ticket .
          Watch out where the Huskies go and don’t you eat that yellow snow , and don’t breath that yellow smoke .

    • I chose the Revolutionary War Veterans Association for my AmazonSmile charity. Their Appleseed shoots are one of the best ways to get young people into shooting (including discussion of the historical roots of the 2A), and they probably need the money way more than the NRA does.

    • 1.77 pellet traveling 420 FPS with about 49 foot pounds of energy at 10 feet could kill someone . You could definitely put out an eye . Just sayin .

      • A 9 grain .177 pellet traveling at 420 FPS would generate about 3.5 foot-pounds of energy. Standard (Walmart / department store) air guns rarely generate more than 10 foot pounds. There are a few $500-$2200 air rifles that generate up to about 200 FPE, but I’ve not known any to be used in shootings.

        • Sorry about that , I was trying to write just 9 . My bad , but you do have to admit I was right about putting out someone’s eye .

  19. Luckily for me, my carry permit allows me to ignore almost all gun free zones within the state of Mississippi. Not that I go to very many movies in the first place.

  20. I took my three year old to the Minion movie a while back, that had been the first time I’d been in a theatre in at least five years. I picked a seat that was close to an exit and where I could see most of everyone in front of me. As I sat there with all the screaming kids I noticed some strange looking old dude sitting in the movie alone. I immediately became distracted from the movie with my son and kept an eye on him. Halfway through the movie I had realized that he was just sitting away from his teenage kids and then I started to relax a little.
    The whole time I couldn’t enjoy myself and kept thinking how this theatre full of kids on a Saturday night was a perfect target for some nutcase to open fire. I live in Maryland where it’s impossible to get CC license unless you’ve been a victim, so it’s impossible for me to defend myself. The one cop down the hall in the lobby didn’t make me feel any better; imagining him running into a dark theatre with no idea what’s going on and who is shooting, is likely to get hit and then what? Back to square one with no protection.
    In conclusion, I’m done with movie theatres. Until I can carry, no one in my family will be going to a movie theatre. I feel bad for the theaters because they are caught in a bad situation and will lose mine and others business. I have nice TV, I can wait for the DVD.

  21. My feeling is simple. If you say I can’t bring my gun to your establishment you should be required by LAW to provide armed security. Otherwise you don’t have the right to strip me of my ability to defend myself.

    • So someone must provide armed security because you *might* decide to go to his facility?

      How about: If you don’t like his terms and conditions, then don’t go there. You have no right to force him to alter his terms and conditions.

  22. Just me or does perp look like Eddie Ray Routh’s daddy?

    Just me or does anyone else think that Eddie Ray Routh (D) cashed-out on the Kyle bounty?

  23. Know who can carry in a no-carry movie zone? Cops.

    Cause it’s important to protect the protected while the un-protected (class of citizen that’s supposed to be protected by the protected protected-class) can’t protect themselves because that’s been found to be too-safe.

  24. Movie theaters are not safe when they are gun free criminal safe zones. The times I do end up going I concealed carry anyway. Signs don’t stop to frisk you nor do they stop to frisk potential criminals. If there is no metal detectors I just carry wherever I go.

  25. Movie theaters are going to go the way of the dinosaur soon. Eventually, it will be just a download for $5-6 and you’ll be able to watch anywhere and everywhere with an LTE connection or WiFi. Or they’ll stream it for a fee, then download for a bit more money.

  26. What’s Next for Movie Theaters?

    How about showing a good movie that isn’t a cartoon or a sequel or a Marvel comic. Oh, and if it’s not too much to ask, how about a plot?

    And don’t worry about security. I’ll bring my own.

  27. Movie theaters should do absolutely nothing. The yellow goop they put on the popcorn is a much greater danger to you than a deranged shooter will ever be.

    Does anyone actually pay attention to those no guns signs anyhow?

  28. my local theater is inside a mall. the mall has a no guns sign. ignore it b/c it has no status under law. AMC theater has no sign. only 20 something yr old in a wheel chair taking tixs at the door. concealed is concealed. I think they will thank me if the SHTF and I respond with Hornady. just saying

    shannon can suck it. I say we relocate syrian refugees next door to her. problems solved

  29. The shootings happen because theater owners do not display really large gun free zone signs that tell the public, “Do not carry firearms in here because we really mean it when we say no guns allowed, and you will be removed from the premises if you display, brandish, discharge or otherwise cause harm with a firearm. Really, we really mean it, and will not tolerate anyone who comes in hire with a gun. You will be banned from the premises for life.”

    What we have here is simple, “…failure to communicate.”

  30. Calling it. Here comes the TSA: Theater Security Administration.

    This will of course be tied in with the true “4D” experience that many theaters are trying — complete with groping and prodding. Enjoy your invasion of privacy (and privates).

  31. When it comes down to it, no one is responsible for your personal safety except you.
    Hopefully, Constitutional Concealed Carry keeps gaining ground in more states and hopefully that has the same effect as where I live. ‘No Weapons’ signs carry little to no weight in my state. The worst that can happen if you ignore the signs is that you might get a trespassing charge. Even then, that only happens to people that make a fuss about being asked to leave, and only then if they are caught in the first place.
    How many more people are going to get shot in theaters and then cry that no one picked up their slack on protecting themselves?

  32. With kids, it is impossible not to go to the movies.
    But……if theaters move towards the Airline/Airport approach of things, with metal detectors and TSA like ticket takers, my family and I will rent and pop our own popcorn.

  33. I support the First Amendment, but clearly the threat of copycat killers means that we need common sense media control so that they’re not constantly streaming the killers’ faces across screens 24/7, thus providing inspiration to everyone else looking to be immortalized for the same reason. Unfortunately our politicians are too deep in the pockets of the ACLU and the rest of the Big Media Lobby to care about our right to not die.

  34. 70in LCD TV. Chromecast. Synology DS215j. Myriad of Smart Phones and Tablets.

    Movie theaters have become the obvious bad joke of how “gun free zones” are nothing more than setups for a shooting spree. Worse, there’s little to no reason to set foot in one of them already. Add to that the fact that they’re going out of their way to set you up to be murdered, and are a complete rip-off… Why would anyone with an IQ above room temperature go there?

    Go stupid places, where there are stupid people, doing stupid things, and play stupid games there, you’re probably going to win stupid prizes.

  35. Why do movie theaters even exist anymore??

    They’re just another middle man. Like cable companies.

    I can sit in my own house, in shorts, with a delicious glass of the water of life, cleaning a gun, watching a movie in 1080P with surround sound.

    At home, I don’t have to get dressed. I don’t have to disarm. I don’t have to pay outrageous prices for snacks. I don’t have to listen to some douchebag yak on his or her phone. I can pause the show for bathroom breaks.

    • They still exist for the same reason you see 100s of people wait in line outside an apple store whenever a “new” iPhone comes out.

      Honestly, I got to the movies about once a year. I only go to see visually stunning movies. I don’t see what the point is of seeing a romantic comedy or some drama on a huge screen. That’s even a waste of the sound system.
      I either go on a weeday morning or a Sunday morning at a downtown location. Either one is completely dead and we’re almost the only ones there.
      BUT, I don’t ever disarm for a movie. Screw that noise. No property right outweighs my inalienable right to self-defense.

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