Aurora Victims’ Families: Theater’s Gala Reopening Event 'Disgusting'

Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013 04:42 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Colorado movie theater where a crazed gunman killed 12 people is facing a boycott by the families of the victims who say plans for a grand reopening are “disgusting’’ and motivated by greed.

"It's like people going back to a slaughterhouse, as far as I am concerned," Sandy Phillips, the mother of slain moviegoer Jessica Ghawi, told The Denver Post.

"None of us received a letter of condolence or any other communication from Cinemark, but now they want us to step foot in that theater.’’

Two days after Christmas, Cinemark invited the victims’ families to a "special evening of remembrance" on Jan. 17, during which renovations, including a new ceiling-to-floor screen, will be unveiled at the Aurora movie house.

In a response letter, Phillips and other relatives of those killed last July 20 during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises’’ slammed Cinemark "for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish."

The letter refers to the movie house as “the killing field of our children,” and calls the theater chain’s invitation “disgusting.’’

“You have shown, and continue to show, ZERO compassion to the families of the victims whose loved ones were killed in that theater,’’ the letter reads.

“During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that. Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult.’’

The families also claim Cinemark has refused their “repeated invitations to speak parent to parent with no lawyers involved.” It promises a boycott of the reopening.

"Like we'd really want to sit through a movie. Are they going to show us ‘The Dark Knight’ so we can see the whole thing?’’ Phillips told Denver Westword.

Several families are currently suing Cinemark, citing lax security measures. Cinemark had no immediate comment to several news organizations.

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