With the movie theater shooting in Aurora still fresh and raw in the minds of Coloradoans, the marquee sign atop the Gaslight Twin Cinema near the south end of Main Avenue has provoked some strong reactions over the last three days.
On Friday, a low-budget sci-fi comedy called Safety Not Guaranteed replaced Moonrise Kingdom to run alongside The Dark Knight Rises at the Gaslight. Once the two film titles were placed next to one another, the bitter irony wasnt lost on passers-by.
Several people were seen stopping to take photographs of the marquee Monday.
What a terrible thing, said Helen Trueblood, a tourist from Indiana who took a picture of the marquee to send to her daughter.
I dont know if its funny or offensive, said fellow visitor Cheryl Anderson of Tulsa, Okla.
Compared to most summer blockbusters, Safety Not Guaranteed has neither been heavily promoted nor advertised. Its relative obscurity has contributed to the confusion, leading some bystanders to believe the marquee was a legal disclaimer or an ill-advised attempt at dark humor.
I didnt know what to think at first because I didnt know it was the name of a real movie, said Ben Rothbart, who works in Durango. I would think it was just a mistake. I would hope.
Rothbart recommended rearranging the order of titles, listing Safety Not Guaranteed first, to minimize any ominous undertones.
The Gaslight and Durango Stadium 9 movie theaters were purchased by Allen Theaters Inc., earlier this summer from previous owner Storyteller Theaters Corp. The new ownership is based in Las Cruces, N.M.
Vice president of operations, Russell Allen, said the coincidence hadnt crossed his mind when selecting movies to show at the Gaslight.
I didnt think about it. Theyre two completely separate movies, Allen said. Its naive ... but I understand how people get thoughts in their minds and make unassociated associations.
While the two movies will continue to run as scheduled, Allen said the company would remove the title from the marquee to ease peoples concerns.
When asked how consumers would know Safety Not Guaranteed was showing, Allen said most moviegoers dont rely on the marquee anyway. Instead, they use newspaper listings or the Internet.
I wont worry about it. If (the film) doesnt do business, itll leave, he said. Theres a poster in the window.
firstname.lastname@example.org Herald Staff Writer Shane Benjamin contributed to this report.