Batman movie plays on in Tupelo

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – It was business as usual at Tupelo’s Friday screenings of the newest Batman movie.
Many customers for the 12:45 p.m. showing at Malco didn’t even know there had been a mass shooting in Colorado at the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The manager at the Tupelo Commons theater declined to comment about security precautions, but it appeared Friday that there weren’t any additional measures.
Customers bought tickets and then were directed to the proper theater. A Journal reporter didn’t see anyone in costume, which might change for the evening screenings.
Some theaters across the country are confiscating costume guns and are being cautious about moviegoers in costume. Malco corporate spokeswoman Karen Scott said the company on Friday was reviewing its security procedures.
“Security has always been of major importance to Malco Theatres and we will continue to maintain a strong security presence in all of our locations,” said Stephen Lightman, CEO of Malco Theatres, in an emailed statement.
The Tupelo Police Department said it will continue regular patrols this weekend at Malco and Cinemark.
Of the Tupelo customers who knew about the shootings, most said they were praying for the victims’ families but they weren’t going to let the shooter’s actions stop their daily lives.
“I don’t think it’s isolated to Batman or Superman films,” said Jason Kirby, who saw the film Friday with his wife, Ellen. “It’s because they’re hellbent on destruction. They go where people are.”
Added Dee Craig, who saw the movie Friday with her grandsons, “I have concerns about that all the time. People are crazy.”
Vanterrius Westbrook of Tupelo didn’t watch the new film Friday, opting for another comic book character’s on-screen adventure.
“I like Spider-Man better than Batman,” he said.
But, he had thought about the shootings before going to the movies. “I’m not worried about it because that stuff can happen anywhere,” he said.
Across the country, theaters have beefed up their security.
Two police officers were stationed outside the AMC theater in New York’s Times Square, which had showings beginning every 20 minutes Friday. Later in the day, the officers gave way to a police cruiser that was parked out front with an officer in it.
At the Regal Gallery Place multiplex in downtown Washington, D.C., theater employees searched patrons’ bags and purses while taking their tickets.
Daily Journal reporter JB Clark and The Associated Press contributed to this story.
carlie.kollath@journalinc.com