The decision to reopen even divided at least one victim’s family.
“The community wants the theater back and by God, it’s back,” Sullivan said. “Nobody is going to stop us from living our lives the way that we lived our lives before. This is where I live.”
Sullivan has said movies are a way for his family to come together, and that Alex was celebrating his 27th birthday when he was killed.
“They can do whatever they want. I think it was pretty callous,” Teves said.
Sandy Phillips, a San Antonio, Texas, businesswoman, lost her daughter, 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster. She wasn’t attending Thursday’s ceremony.
Phillips said Thursday she understood the practicality of reopening the theater but wishes Cinemark had asked families about plans for the theater and how they would like their relatives to be honored.
“They could have avoided a lot of ill feeling,” she said of the company.
Building plans called for turning theater nine, where Holmes allegedly opened fire, into an “extreme digital cinema.” It wasn’t known if there would be a memorial.
Cinemark reportedly spent $1 million on renovations. Before it did, it allowed survivors and families to visit theater nine. Jacqueline Keaumey Lader, a U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran, did so.
“It does help significantly,” she said. “It’s taken the power away from the place.”
Cinemark planned to temporarily open the theater to the public Friday and offer free movies through the weekend. It will permanently reopen Jan. 25.
Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to this report.
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