Gun-toting 'Iron Man 3' stunt goes horribly wrong

Missouri theater patrons call 911 after actors hired by theater management show up in tactical gear sporting replica firearms.

By Jason Notte May 13, 2013 5:03PM
Robert Downey Jr., as Iron Man, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 3 (© W.Disney/Everett/Rex Features)Of all the features built into the Iron Man suit, self-awareness somehow didn't make the cut.

Patrons of the Goodrich Capital 8 Theatres in Jefferson City, Mo., discovered this last weekend when management thought it would be a great idea to mark the opening weekend of Disney's (DIS) "Iron Man 3" with not only someone in an Iron Man costume, but a team  decked out in black tactical gear and carrying fake M-4 rifles and 9-millimeter handguns.

Considering this all took place less than a year after James Holmes allegedly entered a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo., and proceeded to kill 12 moviegoers and injure 70 others, folks in Jefferson City felt this was kind of a big deal and immediately started calling 911.

As a Missouri ABC television affiliate reported, officers who arrived on the scene thought they were about to take on an actual shooter.

When they discovered that the folks in the black gear toting guns were actors, they stopped just short of outright calling the management fools and noted that, had an off-duty police officer been present, the theater's managers could have gotten some struggling actor with an Airsoft gun killed.

"It's an unfortunate lack of wisdom in this particular judgement that hopefully will never occur again," Jefferson City Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker told ABC 17.

Don't be so sure, captain. Despite a lengthy Facebook apology and a public acknowledgement of the events in Aurora last year, Capital 8 Theaters manager Bob Wilkins still seemed blissfully unaware of why it was all such a big deal. While he acknowledges people were upset, he chose to focus on those who weren't and considered his crew's theatrics just part of the show. Does he regret any of it? "No, my job is to entertain people," Wilkins said.

Actually, some would argue that's the job of Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau and Gwyneth Paltrow. Buying the right films, collecting money, keeping kids out of R-rated movies, ensuring the floors aren't sticky, stocking popcorn and soda and making sure customers don't feel as if they're in imminent danger every moment they're in your theater -- that's more the theater manager's purview.

But hey, it's tough to disagree with satisfied customers, right? So tell us, retired Army war veteran and post-traumatic stress disorder sufferer John Morlock, just how awesome was it to see a shock unit storming through the theater and trigger all those memories you never wanted to relive?

"That's just unbelievable," Morlock told ABC 17. "The whole country is talking about gun control because of shootings in theaters and schools."

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May 13, 2013 6:43PM
I saw someone carrying a pressure cooker at Walmart and thought about calling 911;)
May 13, 2013 6:39PM
I am sure that if the management would have announced what their intentions were. Nothing would have happened.   Advertise, inform the public and the PD as to what is going to happen.

These sort of stunts have been going on for years with out any problems. How ever. Yes. These days you need to speak up and tell some one and higher security.

May 13, 2013 6:42PM
There are over 300 million people living in this country. Are that many of you afraid of your own shadow? If it really was an emergency don't you think there would be more than a few men? We must stop letting the media scare us into hiding. Look at what it has done to our way of life? We don't let our kids out to play in fear of abduction. Walking to school is a thing of the past. We are so afraid of everything we have forgotten how to live with freedom of choice. I will take freedom everyday over security at least then I can make my own decisions and not have them made for me and my family.
May 13, 2013 6:32PM
Only got one word for the management , IDIOT!

May 13, 2013 6:31PM
They really have the sheep in panic mode, what a shame.
May 13, 2013 7:14PM
Yeah, because how DARE some concerned people fear for their lives. Quit acting like you wouldn't be ****ing nervous if people in tactical gear with guns came into your joint.
May 13, 2013 6:27PM
This article doesn't state if the bright orange caps were on the guns or not... you should always have bright orange caps on the barrel of model guns like these if you're going to do a public event...
May 13, 2013 6:40PM

Hey iron man was there , he could have handled this situation.. Right???? :).  The mainstream media and our government has gotten people to worked up over these issues.  The Agenda is far more reaching then we know .. Get prepared for the worse to come ...  This generation shall face far greater

tribulations then past generations..   

May 13, 2013 6:14PM

Patrons of the Goodrich Capital 8 Theatres in Springfield, Mo


That theater is actually in Jefferson City, Mo. 


Not Springfield, MO just so that is clear.....



May 13, 2013 6:12PM
Okay, do people REALLY think Iron Man showed up at their theater to do battle with a tac squad?? grow up, people. Was the stunt stupid? Yup. Was it worthy of panic? Nope.
During these skittish times, doing this is the equivalent to running into a theater and yelling FIRE!  As a joke it's extremely illegal, and dangerous.  Knock knock, anyone with a brain, home in Jefferson, Missouri?
May 13, 2013 7:57PM
Basically the terrorists have won causing us to all live in a state of almost constant paranoia and vigilance over every little thing.  Obviously Mr. Wilkins doesn't understand that concept and may have even shouted fire in the theater while showing "Backdraft."  Honestly some people never got out of the sixth grade mentally so all we can do is try and sort out the idiots from the serious perps. 
May 13, 2013 8:24PM
Then we wonder, where does youth get these ideas?
I would have personally found watching a few people overreacting and calling 911, then real police officers confront 'armed' swat actors in my theater to be more entertaining than Iron Man 3 itself.
May 13, 2013 7:35PM
Hey, they did all kinds of warnings for a situation just like this..... and NO events like this had happened before..... what was it?   Radio premier of War of the  Worlds......
May 13, 2013 9:20PM
The media scares you to keep you home watching tv. America needs to wake up stop living in fear and start living. TV is like a drug. Its sad how our country has become. So the theater owner played a stunt who cares let it go. People need to get tough, not scared.
May 13, 2013 8:24PM
As a retired Police Officer I would have shot first; This was stupid & disrespectful !l
May 13, 2013 8:36PM
Jesus Christ people are ****ing retarded. THEY HAVE TOY GUNS SOME ONE CALL DA POLICE OH LODY.
May 13, 2013 7:20PM
Bob Wilkins is a complete idiot! The company that hired him and owns the theater should fire his **** for complete lack of judgment. I would not want my company represented by this jerk.
May 13, 2013 6:06PM

Since the theater's manger is not getting it, I think a nice loss of employment for him will do the trick of properly educating him to gain wisdom and getting him the emotional sensitivity he really needs to have if he wants to have a job working with the public.


So, fire him.



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