The manager of the Capital 8 movie theater in Jefferson City apologized on the theater's Facebook page for an incident at last weekend's Iron Man 3 premiere.
"To our customers:
We apologize 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 realize it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologize that police were called to come out to our theater. 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.
Capital 8, Goodrich Quality Theaters"
A little after 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, Jefferson City police received a call from someone who said there were three people walking into the building in all-black clothing with what appeared to be SWAT gear and carrying rifles. The caller said one had a SWAT-style helmet.
Six officers, including two supervisors, went to the theater, ready for a possible active shooter scenario, and spoke with management, who said the people spotted in the parking lot were part of the Iron Man 3 premiere. There was also a man dressed as Iron Man inside the building.
Heath Thomas, the regional manager at Goodrich Quality Theaters, said a local comic book club came dressed as characters from the franchise for last Friday night's showing. He said they often use characters with blockbuster action movies, having them pose for pictures and talk with movie-goers before the movie.
Officers inspected the weapons, which were actually Airsoft guns.
"We take these calls seriously," Captain Doug Shoemaker said. "Our response was exactly what it should have been. I'm pleased that it was not real and it was in fact a publicity stunt for premiere...however, we respond to these things in a very serious manner and it certainly would trigger thoughts of what did happen in Aurora and again we take that extremely seriously. There's nothing funny about it."
Shoemaker stressed that the public was never in any danger. He said the police department has an "excellent" relationship with the theater and they even held an active shooter training there. He said the incident could have been avoided with more communication.