A Missouri movie theatre hired a number of people to dress in tactical gear and storm an “Iron Man 3” screening with fake weapons opening weekend.
ABC News 17 reports Goodrich Capital 8 theatres in Jefferson City, Missouri wanted to get moviegoers excited for the film by dressing people up to resemble S.H.I.E.L.D. members, part of the Marvel world’s secret intelligence agency.
(You can see the photo of the people here.)
Instead, several people dialed 911, prompting local police to respond.
The stunt comes less than a year after the “Dark Knight Rises” shootings at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight shooting.
Captain Doug Shoemaker told ABC 17 News they received calls about a man dressed in body armour with a rifle walking into the theatre.
“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” said Shoemaker. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”
A retired Army war veteran told the affiliate the event triggered his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Another person at the showing commented on the theatre’s Facebook page that he “and 99.5% of the other people there realised they were S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives carrying fake guns.”
theatre manager Bob Wilkins defended the stunt to ABC 17 News saying it was planned for months in advance and that many were entertained.
Wilkins did say the theatre took the Aurora, Colorado shooting into consideration.
The theatre has since posted the following apology to its Facebook page:
“We apologise and are sympathetic to those who felt they were in harm’s way with our character promotion for Iron Man 3. This was not a publicity stunt. We have worked with the Cosplacon group on many movies to dress up and help entertain our customers. We have had many complaints about the members dressed specifically as S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives carrying fake guns. We didn’t clearly tell our customers and some people didn’t realise it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologise that police were called to come out to our theatre. We have a wonderful working relationship with the Jefferson City Police Department. Going forward we will take the necessary steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Security and safety for our customers is our number one priority.”
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