Tragedy struck in Aurora, Colo. on Thursday evening when a gunman shot and killed 12 people and injured 59 during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.
Although the incident occurred hundreds of miles from Barrington, area movie theaters are taking precautions to ensure the safety of patrons.
AMC, which has a theater in South Barrington, issued a statement regarding new safety procedures taking place following the Aurora shooting.
"We’re reinforcing our security procedures with our theatre teams, which we cannot discuss in detail for obvious, safety reasons. Local law enforcement agencies, our landlords and their and our local security teams are stepping up nationwide to ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our guests. We couldn’t be more grateful for their collective support," the statement read.
Costumes will not be banned at AMC theaters, but those wearing face concealing masks will not be allowed in. Fake weapons are also banned.
There are also changes taking place at the Classic Cinema 12 in Carpentersville.
Chris Johnson, vice president of Classic Cinema, said his staff is reviewing safety policies to make sure everyone is aware and vigilant. Staff is checking exits and making sure security systems are working.
A new policy bans visitors from bringing backpacks and large bags into the theater, he said. The theater also is barring masks or other things that can obscure someone’s identity, Johnson said. Moviegoers who come out for the midnight showing typically enjoy dressing up, he said.
“The midnight show is the event screening,” he said.
Classic Cinema also is working with local police in each town, including the Patch towns of St. Charles, Naperville and Oak Park, he said. Police in some towns already have stopped by theaters, he said.
“I think there is a heightened sense of awareness,” Johnson said.
More than 7,000 people saw the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at Classic Cinemas, Johnson said. The chain has had another 7,000 people catch shows during the day Friday.
“I think people understand that it’s probably an isolated case and just a very unfortunate incident to happen in a movie theater,” Johnson said. “It’s just a tragedy, but I think people will look beyond that and say, ‘I have to live my life.’”
Classic Cinemas is making another change for now — the chain will not be holding midnight shows.
There were several scheduled for the rest of the summer including Total Recall and Borne Legacy, Johnson said.