Aurora shooting: Families of victims blast letter from Cinemark inviting them to reopening

The harshly worded note from the families says, in part:

To the Management of Cinemark USA, Inc.:

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) has shown, and continues to show, ZERO compassion to the families of the victims whose loved ones were killed in their theater. You, Cinemark, have never once reached out to the families to offer condolences.

This disgusting offer that you'd "like to invite you and a guest to a special evening of remembrance on Thursday, January 17 at 5 PM" followed by the showing of a movie and then telling us to be sure "to reserve our tickets" is wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones.


Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn't care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling.

The letter, full version on view below, goes on to say that this is a "thinly veiled publicity ploy" and that the families will use "every social media tool" at their disposal to encourage people to boycott the "killing field" of their children.

The letter claims that Cinemark has also been unresponsive to their inquiries in the past -- which makes this invitation all the more insulting.

Aurora families, presser 1.jpeg
Sam Levin
Families of the Aurora victims together for their first joint public appearance back in August.

"Like we'd really want to sit through a movie," says Phillips. "Are they going to show us The Dark Knight so we can see the whole thing?"

She adds, "Whoever is handling their PR should be fired.... This is insulting to the memory of our children, our loved ones."

Her husband, Lonnie Phillips, Ghawi's stepfather, says that the effort seems very commercial, which is partly why it is so hurtful.

"Obviously the theater is interested in rebuilding their image and using the victims to do it," he says. "We are letting them know how distasteful it was and to rethink what they are doing.... It is very disturbing."

Reached this morning, COVA's Lewis declined to comment citing the ongoing gag order. It appears that COVA, which has contact information for the families, was sending the message on Cinemark's behalf, and is not planning the remembrance event. (We've left a message with Cinemark and will update this post if we hear back from the company.)

Continue for the full invite and the families' full response.

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24 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

If you were the owner of the theater what would you do ? Take FULL responsibility as so many are expecting ? My heart goes out to ALL non-law-enforcement involved,  but COME ON !?! The theater is the scapegoat for the HORRIFIC, MURDEROUS, REACTION by APD  !

Question, are ANY of the theater employees being criminally charged ? Were ANY show attendees killed or injured by the action of ANY theater employee ? 

This ENDLESS negative BLAMING OF THE THEATER works quite effectively for keeping ANY & ALL attention from the 'war-like' tactics used by APD !!!

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

If they hadn't invited them someone would have been upset about that.

Cindy Zavala
Cindy Zavala

I know someone who was working there that horrible night. While she is apprehensive about returning to work, she needs her job and feels she doesn't want evil to win. I disagree. I say bulldoze it and make a memorial park. They may have remodeled the front of the building, but the inside bad karma will remain forever.

D.c. Small
D.c. Small

Yeah, I wouldn't want to go back if I were one of those families.

D.c. Small
D.c. Small

Yeah, I wouldn't want to go back if I were one of those families.

Faycless
Faycless

Boycotting that theatre.

Jennifer Wohletz
Jennifer Wohletz

Yeah--just demolish that theater and turn it into a parking lot. Bad juju.

Craig Hammersmith
Craig Hammersmith

True. You can't always please everyone. Particularly people whose family and friends were recently shot dead in a coldblooded ambush at a Cinemark cinema. "We're reopening, stop in and say hi! Catch a screening of 'Skyfall' on Cinemark's dime! Hope ya like gunfire!"

Sheilah Davis
Sheilah Davis

Cinemark is a cinema. It is not in the business of psychotherapy or victim advocacy. I'm sure they meant well with their well-meaning gesture of good will.

J Patrick McDuff
J Patrick McDuff

Unfortunately, Cinemark made a good faith effort to reach out to everyone. Too bad you can't please all the people all of the time!

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Cinemark might as well have offered 50% off (and a free t-shirt) for all new AR-15 purchases between January 3rd and January 10th.... Excludes residents of Hawaii and Connecticut, offer only valid on business days starting with a "W," and only if you can provide proof (at time of purchase) that you are a distant relative of Alexander Hamilton's second cousin on his mother's side.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Chris Estus  Great point . APD need it's scapegoat !

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Cindy Zavala As long as you can pay for the purchase of the property and the capital expenditure, I say YOU should go for it.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Sheilah Davis If you're in their situation, it's "no-win." They handled it poorly, and the haters are all over it. AFAIC, they should be held responsible for disarming anyone who would have been armed, but that's about it.

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