Top 12 Film Industry Stories of 2012: #3

The Dark Knight Ruined

By David Mumpower

January 8, 2013

I'll miss you, buddy.

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The Dark Knight was one of those perfect projects, a rare instance where cinematic quality and box office popularity aligned. While the tragic death of Heath Ledger may have soured the production for some, the triumph of The Dark Knight is impossible to ignore. It was the unanimous choice for top Film Industry Story of 2008. Ever since then, consumers had breathlessly anticipated the release of the sequel, the title that would signify the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Alas, grievous events caused by a madman once again marred the enjoyment of a Batman movie.

Ordinarily, BOP prides itself on ignoring sensationalism, the media minutiae that lead to frequent slam pieces. We are not in the habit of tearing down projects without justification. As such, our staff sorely regrets having to include a discussion of the events of Aurora, Colorado on our annual list. If we did not, however, we would be sticking our collective head in the sand about the most memorable moment that occurred in a cinema this year.

By now, we all know the details. The Century 16, a Cinemark cineplex located at the Town Center in Aurora, Colorado was one of several thousand exhibitors providing midnight exhibitions of The Dark Knight Rises. They were the unlucky ones.


A sick bastard – one whose name we have never printed on this Web site nor will we ever do so – bought a ticket to the movie. He took his seat in the front row and watched the first 20 minutes. Then, he headed out the door, taking a moment to prop open the emergency exit. He went out to his car, armed himself in protective gear and then took a stockpile of guns back into the theater a few minutes later.

What happened next is impossible for the rational mind to reconcile.

From the perspective of the movie goers, a maniac in a gas mask entered through the emergency exit. Well, that was the revisionist point of view. At the time, some people in the audience believed that this individual had left long enough to get dressed in a Batman cosplay outfit. He would not have been the only person in the theater who had gotten dressed up for the occasion. Alas, his security gear served a much more insidious purpose.

Armed in bulletproof clothing, the madman disrupted the Batman exhibition by releasing a can of tear gas in the crowd. As the innocent movie-goers struggled to intuit what was about to transpire, he opened fire. A spray of bullets was unleashed into the crowd. Defenseless people who wanted only to watch a good movie were shot to death.

Seventy people were wounded by gunfire that night. A dozen of them died, not counting the victim who miscarried the following week. Out of the 12 fatalities, 10 of them were under the age of 30. One was six-years-old. A three-month-old was also injured although not severely (thank God).

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