(AURORA, Colo.) — Movies will again screen Thursday night at the Aurora, Colo., movie theater for the first time since July 20, when a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and injuring another 58.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and the Cinemark CEO Tim Warner are expected to speak at a “special evening of remembrance” for the victims. The theater is expected to open to the public temporarily, starting Friday and then permanently by Jan. 25.
The theater has undergone cosmetic changes to the interior and exterior, including new paint and a different marquee. Inside, individual theaters are now labeled with letters instead of numbers. Theater 9, where James Holmes allegedly carried out his attack, is now “Auditorium H,” according to the Denver Post. It has been renovated into what Cinemark calls an “XD” or “Extreme Digital” theater that will show movies on a large, IMAX-like screen.
Some family members and victims of the shooting are boycotting the reopening, saying they are outraged by the timing of Cinemark’s invitation to the event, which arrived a few days after Christmas. A group representing families and victims is also upset at their perceived treatment by Cinemark, which they say has refused to meet with them or offer condolences. Several lawsuits have been filed against Cinemark, claiming the theater lacked adequate security.
Holmes, 25, a former neuroscience student at the University of Colorado, is charged with 166 counts that include murder and attempted murder. He is expected to enter a plea March 12.
His attorneys have said in court that they believe Holmes, 25, is mentally ill.
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