The deadly mass shooting overnight in a Colorado theater weighed heavily on the minds of fans of the Dark Knight trilogy in Knoxville. Yet, those fans remained excited about the film and filled theaters throughout the city on Friday.
"It's going to be awesome," said Ben Romanowski of Knoxville as he bought tickets at Turkey Creek's Pinnacle Stadium 18 theater. "I've been excited about this for a few months. The stuff out in Colorado is just crazy that somebody would do that, but it has not affected me from coming to see the movie."
Emily Robertson of Knoxville admitted the violence in Colorado made her question whether to attend the movie Friday.
"We talked about what happened in Colorado and I kind of second-guessed myself about going," said Robertson. "But I wasn't going to let it stop me. I just hope it doesn't prevent anyone from going to the movie now."
Moviegoers repeatedly stated their attendance Friday was an act of defiance in the face of fear. Several fans of the movie stated a desire to prevent a random act of violence in Colorado from making them fearful of living their lives as normal in East Tennessee.
"It's sad to hear what happened there [in Colorado], but honestly there are people like that everywhere," said Matthew Newton outside the Regal Riviera in downtown Knoxville. "You just hope that it doesn't happen, but if you're scared of that happening you are not going to go out and do anything."
Shawn Scalf serves with the Air National Guard at McGhee Tyson and purchased tickets for his entire family Friday at Turkey Creek.
"Everywhere you go with a big crowd, it's something always on our mind, especially since 9-11," said Shawn Scalf. "It's a sad situation. Basically, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to people. That's really all you can do."
Shannon Campbell of Seymour also lined up with his wife and two children for a day at the movies Friday. Campbell admitted his wife wondered about their matinee plans in the wake of the shooting.
"We heard about it on the news this morning and she asked me if we were still going to go," said Campbell. "I said yes. She asked me if I thought it was safe. I said it's never safe anywhere, it doesn't matter. This kind of thing can happen anywhere, but you can't let it stop you from living your life and sit at home afraid."
Many moviegoers said they would alter their behavior slightly due to the shooting in Colorado. Some said they would inevitably pay more attention to others in the theater. Others said it would affect their choice of seat.
"I did decide that I want to find a seat near the door," said Robertson. "Other than that, I don't want to let the fear from what happened out there [in Colorado] affect me."