Threatening Audience With Death Turns Out To Be Unsuccessful Marketing Technique

Movies might be breaking world records all over the place, and it seems like every single film that comes out has the Highest Box Office Weekend EVAR, but cinemas themselves are making next to jack shit money out of the deal. The theatre gets about £1.30 per ticket, going some way to explaining why popcorn is more expensive to buy per ounce than Fillet Mignon (genuinely. That's a true thing.)

To bring in the punters you have to make a bit more effort than sticking a few House of the Dead machines in the foyer.

One place, in the Americas, had a fairly psychotic promotional idea and it involved threatening to murder a theatre full of people on the anniversary of the day someone murdered a theatre full of people.

You may remember tragedy striking during a midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora Colorado when a nutter with a rifle, who we won't name because fuck him, strapped on some body armour and started firing into a crowd, killing 12 people and ruining the evening of everyone else.

The Capitol 8 Theatre in Jefferson City, Missouri, felt like a re-enactment of this senseless rampage might be just the kick in the arse their Iron Man 3 ticket sales might need, so they hired an actor to play Iron Man, some more actors to play members of the SWAT team and a final actor to play a man who gunned down a dozen people for no reason.

So far, so bloody stupid.

The idea was that the gun-toting former drama student would kick his way into the theatre and threatening to shoot everyone inside, at which point Iron Man would fly (walk slowly) in and take him out, thus rescuing everybody and properly preparing them to enjoy his onscreen adventures.

Fortunatately none of that happened because as soon the fake gunman turned up for work in his costume, people in the queue outside (they queue for tickets outside in America. That's not just in films, that's real.) called the police who shut the whole thing down and possibly called more than one staff member a idiot.

More fortunately, according to said police, the actor portraying the real-life shit-heel murderer didn't burst in to a screen containing any off duty coppers, because they would have shot him in the face without so much as putting their down their Pepsi.

The theatre issued a half-arsed apology  "it's your own fault for not realising we were joking!" notice on their Facebook page:

"We apologize and are sympathetic to those who felt they were in harm’s way with our character promotion for Iron Man 3. This was not a publicity stunt. We have worked with the Cosplacon group on many movies to dress up and help entertain our customers. We have had many complaints about the members dressed specifically as S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives carrying fake guns. We didn't clearly tell our customers and some people didn't realize it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologize that police were called to come out to our theatre  We have a wonderful working relationship with the Jefferson City Police Department. Going forward we will take the necessary steps to make sure this doesn't happen again. Security and safety for our customers is our number one priority."


Words by Gazz Wood

Gazz Wood is a writer from The Northern Film School at Leeds Met University. As well as writing for Wireless he can also be heard on the monthly podcast Possibly of Interest with TV Producer Howard Cohen and special guests from the world of British TV and Cinema, plus his own weekly show Gazz Wood Has A Podcast. He can be followed on Twitter @GazzPH90.