07/22/12 — Batman back

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Batman back

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 22, 2012 1:50 AM

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Jason Elliott and his father, Robert, right, stand in line to see "The Dark Knight Rises" Saturday -- two of many who waited to see the movie.

The scene outside Premiere Theatres Saturday morning was pretty subdued.

Sure, there was a long line that formed before the doors opened and before the first showing of the next installment of the tale of Batman -- "The Dark Knight Rises" -- which was scheduled for 11:30.

And most agreed they were excited about the third film in the trilogy.

But they were also reverent and sensitive to the fact that less than 48 hours before, a horrific massacre had occurred at a midnight showing of the same film in Aurora, Colo..

"It kept me from coming last night," said Bob Bass of Goldsboro.

It didn't deter him from showing up Saturday, though.

"I was too psyched about it," he said.

The turnout was in stark contrast to opening night audiences.

At Friday's 6:10 p.m. showing, the theater was not even half full, sources said.

And by 9 o'clock, a larger crowd had appeared, but still not the sell-out that typically accompanies a summer blockbuster of this magnitude.

One theater patron also commented that employees were seen checking emergency exit doors and taking safety precautions.

There were no reported incidents at any of the theater's 10 Friday showings.

Steven and Kailey Wyrick bought their tickets Friday night for the Saturday showing.

The national news report definitely had an effect, Steven admitted.

"It's in the back of my mind," he said. "But it's like an out-there thought to think that it's going to happen again."

"It's kind of an isolated incident," Ms. Wyrick said.

Jason Elliott, there with his father, Robert Elliott, agreed, calling it "just senseless violence that happened -- (someone) being stupid, bad judgment ruining other people's lives.

"It makes me uneasy. I wouldn't want to bring my child to see it, because you never know what somebody else is going to do."

Robert Cain was accompanied by his wife, Cheryl, and their young son, Parker.

Mrs. Cain said the family had purchased the tickets more than a week ago.

She shrugged off any fears.

"Anything could happen to you driving a car," she said. "It's not going to stop you from doing something."

Inside the lobby, 18-month-old Mason Harper nestled in his father, Duane Harper's, arms as they waited for the line to dwindle down. Duane said his wife, Elizabeth, and 9-year-old daughter, Kaylee, were getting the family tickets.

News about the shooting victims definitely gave the family pause, the father said.

"That made us not want to come (Friday), but we figured the matinee will be a little safer," Harper said. "It's still a little unsettling."

Employees of the local theater said they had been advised not to speak to media, but provided contact information for officials of United Entertainment Corporation.

Calls to the corporate office were not returned.