Family members of those who were killed in the Aurora movie theater shooting sent an angry letter to Cinemark after being invited to "a special evening of remembrance" and a movie in the theater where their loved ones were massacred.
Relatives of eight of the victims signed the letter, saying they were especially angry that the invitations to the theater's reopening night were received so soon after the holidays.
During the holiday we didn't think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred.Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful...
You (Cinemark) refused our repeated invitations to speak parent to parent with no lawyers involved. Instead, we get invited to attend a "special evening of remembrance" at the very theater where our loved ones lay dead on the floor for over 15 hours. We would give anything to wipe the carnage of that night out of our minds' eye. Thank you for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish.
The letter, which called the theater chain's offer "disgusting" also says that that Cinemark never reached out to family members to offer their condolences and that "telling us to be sure 'to reserve our tickets' is wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones" (Click over to The Denver Post to read the full letter).
On January 17th the Century 16 theater, owned by Cinemark, is set to reopen after renovations have been completed.
Theater No. 9, where 12 people were killed and 58 others were wounded on July 20, is reportedly going to be turned into one of Cinemark's "extreme digital cinemas" with a screen that stretches from ceiling to floor. That theater is also set to have 61 less seats than it had on the night of the shooting.
Fox31 reports that the Century 16 theater now has a mural on the outside, with the number 16 removed.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan are both expected to attend the reopening of the theater, but family members of the shooting victims have said they are organizing a boycott of the event.
Last August, Hogan said there had been overwhelming support to reopen the theater after a community survey was conducted by the city.
Hogan called the theater's reopening "another step in the community's healing," but Lonnie Phillips, the stepfather of Jessica Ghawi, who died in the theater shooting, told the Denver Post he felt it was just the opposite.
"It's like people going back to a slaughterhouse, as far as I am concerned."