Movie theater publicity stunt results in police response

Mike Krumboltz
Still from the movie "Iron Man 3 (AP Photo/Disney)
Still from the movie "Iron Man 3 (AP Photo/Disney)

The manager of a movie theater in Jefferson City, Mo., is defending himself after a publicity stunt resulted in a police response last weekend.

KMIZ reports that management of Goodrich Capital 8 Theaters hired an actor to dress in full tactical gear (complete with a fake gun) and walk into the movie theater during the opening weekend of "Iron Man 3."

Several moviegoers called police, who responded anticipating an active shooter situation.

"We received a series of 911 calls stating that a man dressed in all black and body armor and a rifle was walking into Capital 8 Theaters," Capt. Doug Shoemaker told KMIZ.

Capt. Shoemaker told Fox 4 News, "Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen. There’s really no good that can come of this."

Last summer, 12 people were shot and killed during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

The theater's management is defending the stunt saying its job is to entertain the guests. Capital 8 Theaters manager Bob Wilkins told KMIZ that the stunt resulted in only a few complaints.


When asked if management took into consideration what happened in the the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, Wilkins responded, "Absolutely. That's my number-one priority every day. It's the safety and security of our guests."

ABC 17 News asked Wilkins if he had any regrets for allowing the publicity stunt and he said, "No, my job is to entertain people."

John Morlock, an army veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress, saw the stunt play out.

"We had just finished watching 'Iron Man 3,'" Morlock told KMIZ. "We're just getting into the car when I spotted a man in full assault gear, carrying what appeared to be a modified M-4 and 9 mm on his side."