KNOXVILLE (WATE) - In spite of the Colorado theater shooting, hundreds of fans are packing Knoxville theaters for the opening weekend of "The Dark Knight Rises." Officials say their security is a top priority.
The Knoxville Police Department will have increased patrols at theaters to ensure the safety of movie goers.
"Every community is going to look at theaters in their hometowns. What are the security measures in place and of course it's up to each company, these are private companies, so it's up to each individual company to develop their own safety and security plan," said police spokesman Darrell DeBusk.
At Regal Cinema's Pinnacle Stadium 18, there are always off-duty officers on site for security on weekends.
A statement released by Regal's Knoxville-based corporate office said," The security and safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority. As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary."
"A lot of theaters go a step further and hire off-duty officers or deputies or security firms to increase the safety of their individual theater," DeBusk said.
The Carmike theater in East Knoxville also has an off duty police officer on weekends. Their director of marketing says, "At Carmike Theaters, our teams are trained with standard security measures and we often have uniform or plain clothes officers on hand. We take every reasonable measure we can to ensure to safety of our guests."
Carmike and Regal theaters in Knoxville expect hundreds of movie goers Friday night, similar to Thursday's midnight showings.
Police say they're keeping a close eye on Knoxville theaters. "We will be monitoring movie theaters and paying close attention to movie theaters because of what happened last night," DeBusk said.
In addition to increased patrols, Regal announced there will be stricter policies about costumes in theaters this weekend.