Aurora, Colorado cinema, site of James Holmes' alleged shooting rampage, reopens


Invited guests make their way into a reopening ceremony and evening of remembrance at the Cinemark Century 16 Theaters in Aurora, Colorado on January 17, 2013. The theater was the site of of a mass shooting in July 2012 that killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others.


Marc Piscotty

The Aurora movie theater where a gunman — allegedly James Holmes —killed 12 people and wounded 58 last July reopened Thursday after remodeling. 

The LA Times reported that the Aurora Century 16 cinema held an "evening of remembrance" for "a few hundred" victims and their families as well as first responders, Colorado's governor and Aurora's mayor.

About 2,000 people had reportedly been invited.

The theatre held a private screening of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” while young employees offered candy, sodas and popcorn to visitors.

Relatives of several who died in the massacre — which has reignited the gun debate in America — boycotted the event, saying the reopening of the multiplex as insensitive, the Associated Press reported.

The Times spoke with Scott Larimer, whose son John Larimer, 27, was killed, and who said that he received an email shortly after Christmas inviting him to the theatre, according to Reuters owned by Cinemark USA:

"They were treating it like I lost my raincoat there and not my son. I'm not sure if they're just trying to drum up support so they can just reopen their theater and make some money, or what it is."

Reuters cited a letter from families of nine murder victims to to Cinemark taking offense 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. 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 mental anguish."

However, Corbin Dates, 23, who said he was in the second row of Theater 9 during the shootings, said: 

"Evil doesn't have the best of me and it never will."

The AP cited Pierce O'Farrill — who was hit three times in the shooting and had to be carried out by the SWAT team — as making a point of finding his old seat in the second row of the theater:

"It was just a part of closure, just going back to that spot where, obviously, I was in the most pain I'd ever felt in in my life."

According to the AP, Theater 9 — where Neuroscience graduate student Holmes allegedly opened fire during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Returns" — has been converted into an XD theater with wall-to-wall screen and stadium seating.