* Event upsets some victims' families
* Mayor says event part of "healing process"
By Keith Coffman
DENVER, Jan 17 The Aurora, Colorado, movie
theater where 12 people were killed in a shooting rampage at a
Batman film last July was set to reopen on Thursday evening with
a private "night of remembrance" for survivors and others
connected to the tragedy.
The owners of the theater, Cinemark USA, offered victims or
their relatives free passes to a movie later on Thursday after
the event and invited them to view the revamped theater where
the massacre occurred.
But in a letter to Cinemark, families of nine murder victims
took umbrage at the offer to tour "the very theater where our
loved ones lay dead on the floor for over 15 hours."
"We would give anything to wipe the carnage of that night
out of our minds' eye," the letter said. "Thank you for
reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your
leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our
A spokeswoman for Cinemark declined to comment.
Some victims' relatives have said they will attend the
event, among them Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed in the
"If you truly knew my son Alex, you would know that he would
want me to be there, if only to show that we will not allow
anyone to take the joy we shared at theaters ... away from us,"
Sullivan wrote in an opinion piece published by the Denver Post.
After Thursday night's event, the theater will offer free
movie passes to the public from Friday through Sunday. The
theater will then close and reopen for good on Jan. 25
The 16-theater multiplex has been closed since July 20, when
a gunman opened fire on moviegoers during a screening of "The
Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 and wounding dozens of others.
Former graduate student James Holmes is charged with multiple
counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Colorado Governor John
Hickenlooper and Cinemark President Tim Warner are slated to
speak at Thursday's event.
Hogan issued a video statement about the reopening, calling
it "part of a healing process" for the city of 325,000. He said
three-quarters of Aurora citizens who responded to an online
survey conducted by the city requesting input on the future of
the site said they wanted the theater to reopen.
Cinemark is the third-largest movie exhibitor in the
United States, according to a company profile.
The Texas-based theater chain reported a 1 percent
year-over-year dip in revenue to $636.6 million in the third
quarter of 2012, the time frame when the shooting occurred.
Cinemark has refrained from commenting publicly about the
massacre. Some victims have sued the chain over the rampage,
charging that the theater should have had more security because
it was aware of previous crimes in or near the multiplex.
In a court filing seeking dismissal of the lawsuits,
Cinemark denied it was aware of other crimes at the theater, but
even if true, "such an event would be insufficient to make a
madman's mass murder foreseeable."