A Fairview woman said she was “terrified” when a man began yelling and pointing his finger at the audience during a movie in Empire Theatres on Sunday, and couldn’t help but think of the fatal Colorado theatre shooting in July.
According to 32-year-old Kirsten, who did not want her last name used, the man created a scene during the last 20 minutes of Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s new film, and told the Bayers Lake crowd they were “all going to hell” if they continued watching.
Dean Leland, vice president of media with Empire Theatres, confirmed Monday there “was an incident” with a man during the show.
“A guest alerted us that a man was upset, and he did come out of the theatre. Our manager and general manager calmed him down,” Leland said. “He retrieved his belongings and left the building.”
Kirsten said she was frightened because the man kept reaching into his pockets and pointing his hand at people in the front rows, giving the impression he could have had a weapon.
He began by shouting for the movie to stop, then he got in front of the screen and began yelling and cursing at the audience, Kirsten said.
“We were terrified,” Kirsten said. “My boyfriend and I looked at each other, and I said, ‘Do we chance getting up and leaving, or are we going to become targets?’”
Eventually someone did leave the theatre, and the man shortly went out as well.
Kirsten and her boyfriend left before the end of the film “because we were a little bit freaked out,” she said.
She said she would have preferred to have theatre staff pause the movie and address the audience, but that did not happen. She is also questioning why the theatre doesn’t have on-site security in place to handle situations like this.
Leland said Empire Theatres tries never to stop a film once it has begun, but the managers greeted the audience on their way out and talked about the incident.
“This is an isolated case,” Leland said. “I can’t remember the last time something like this happened.” — Metro Halifax