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Toledo-area movie-goers shaken

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‘It's sad that it's not even safe to go to the movies,' said Amy Jankowski of Oregon, left, who saw ‘The Dark Knight Rises' on Friday with her daughter, Sabrina, 15, at the Rave cinema in Levis Commons. ‘I'm thinking they're taking away the enjoyment.'

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After a shooting rampage at a suburban Denver cinema early Friday, some who turned out at local theaters admitted to having second thoughts about going to the movies.

"It's definitely freaky," said Mary Curnutte of Perrysburg, who went to Rave Motion Pictures at Levis Commons with her two young daughters. "It was kind of a mental thing, whether we wanted to or not."

Aurora, Colo., police captured James Holmes, 24, after he entered a Century 16 theater with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and two pistols. Mr. Holmes is accused of releasing gas into the crowd before firing, killing 12 people and wounding dozens at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

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Managers at local Rave Cinemas and at Cinemark Woodland Mall Cinema in Bowling Green declined to comment on security and directed all media inquiries to their corporate headquarters.

"We are incredibly saddened by the shooting in Colorado," Danny DiGiacomo, the director of marketing at Dallas-based Rave Cinemas, said in an e-mail Friday. "Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy. We take security very seriously and will continue to make every effort to ensure that our moviegoers are safe when they visit our theaters."

While Westfield Franklin Park mall declined to comment on security, it was reported that the mall's Rave cinema was hiring more police to amp up security over the weekend.

"They hire enough of us to make sure that things are well protected and patrons feel safe," said Bob D'Agostino, a subcontracted police officer who works for the theater.

For those who eagerly awaited the last film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, the Colorado tragedy did little to shake their resolve to watch the film Friday.

"I had a little delay, but not much," said Chris Kamelesky of Northwood. "My mom was freaking out. … I was a little nervous when I heard about the Colorado [shooting] because I have family out there."

Many attributed their feelings of safety to attending the film during the daytime and being in Toledo rather than in a larger city.

"I used to live in L.A. and that would be a little different," said Dyrk Ashton of Perrysburg, who is a film professor at the University of Toledo. "I think I would avoid a midnight showing there."

For others, the event was a random occurrence — one they believed was unlikely to start a trend.

"I didn't give [coming to the movies] a second thought," said Stephanie Rieck of Perrysburg. "You can't stop living."

Overall, movie-goers expressed sadness about the Colorado tragedy, and some said they felt the shootings detracted from the escapist experience of attending the movies.

"I'm thinking they're taking away the enjoyment," said Amy Jankowski of Oregon, who went to see The Dark Knight Rises with her 15-year-old daughter, Sabrina. Both wore shirts depicting the superhero's familiar bat silhouette. "It's sad that it's not even safe to go to the movies."

About 1,200 people turned out for midnight showings Friday of the Batman movie at Rave Levis Commons.

Contact Madeline Buxton at: mbuxton@theblade.com or 419-724-6368.

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