Louisiana shooting puts theater security back into spotlight

Police stand outside the Grand Theatre following a shooting on Thursday night in Lafayette, La.

Police stand outside the Grand Theatre following a shooting on Thursday night in Lafayette, La.

(Stacy Revere / Getty Images)

The big theater chains have been slow to react after another deadly shooting at a cinema raised fears about security measures at cineplexes nationwide.

The National Assn. of Theater Owners and representatives from the nation’s top five chains either did not have a comment or could not be reached for a comment Friday morning. The chains -- AMC Entertainment, Regal Entertainment, Cineplex Entertainment, Carmike Cinemas and Cinemark Theatres -- also had not released statements on their websites or social media pages.

The deadly shooting at Thursday’s 7 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck” in Lafayette, La., is sure to renew questions about theater security and how owners can ensure the safety of moviegoers.


Three years ago, the National Assn. of Theater Owners worked with Homeland Security to beef up security after the massacre at the Aurora, Colo., theater left 12 people dead and dozens more injured. There were simple directions given, such as securing employee-only doors and back exits inside theaters.

But, fundamentally, not much has changed since then. Most cinemas in the U.S. don’t have metal detectors or extensive security checks, and moviegoers can still wander around the multiplex without fear of raising suspicion from employees.

What’s more, the big cinema chains have been slow to beef up security despite multiple lawsuits filed against Cinemark in the wake of the Aurora shooting. Several civil suits, which could go to trial next year, allege that Cinemark should be held liable because of inadequate security that could have prevented the shooting.

The shooter in that case, James Holmes, was convicted last week of 165 counts, including first-degree murder and attempted murder.

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy


Indie Focus: Your field guide to only good movies

Classic Hollywood: A weekly email celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood

Essential Arts & Culture: A curated look at SoCal’s wonderfully vast and complex arts world