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Century 16 Movie Theater is located in Aurora, Colorado. It is the site of a massacre that took place on July 20, 2012 during the midnight showing of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Twelve people were killed and 70 others were injured. The shooting at Century 16 Movie Theater sparked a heated political debate on the Second Amendment of the Constitution and gun violence.


  • The outside of Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora, Colorado.
  • Movie theater 9, the room in which the Aurora shooting occurred.
  • A sign outside Century 16 movie theater in the days following the shooting.
  • The updated floor plan after the shooting.

The Aurora Mall, home of the movie theater Cinema 3, was developed in 1974 and fully opened in 1975. It was owned by General Cinema before it was sold to Mann Theatres on June 22, 1984. Originally, the movie theater was located inside the mall. In 2005 the mall was renovated and renamed Town Center at Aurora. During this renovation the movie theater was moved to the outside of the mall and renamed Century 16. It is currently operated by Cinemark.

The shooting occurred on July 20, 2012 in Theater 9 of Century 16 movie theater. 400 people were inside for the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” James Holmes bought a ticket, sat down in the first row, then left via the emergency exit door. With the door propped open, Holmes went to his car and retrieved his guns and changed into bulletproof clothing. Around 12:30 AM about 30 minutes into the movie, Holmes reentered through the propped exit door. It was then that he let off two gas canisters and fired 76 shots. The movie theater fire alarm was sounded, and staff directed the movie-watchers to exits. James Holmes was originally mistaken for a police officer due to his clothes but was handcuffed at 12:45 PM next to his car in the back parking lot of the movie theater.

Following the 2012 shooting, a debate was sparked about gun laws and mental health. Many referenced the Aurora Shooting as a reason to tighten gun control and have mental health checks. In May 2013 Colorado governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill that would provide 20 million dollars for mental health services to expand in the state. Many hope that mass shootings can be avoided by providing mental health services. Colorado also passed a law limiting magazine capacities to 15 rounds and required mandatory background checks for firearm purchases. A ban was also placed on obtaining concealed carry permits online. New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and California also enacted stricter gun control measures following the Aurora shooting.

Engel, Pamela. Here's What's Changed In The Year Since The Aurora Theater Shooting. Business Insider. July 19, 2013. Accessed October 01, 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/what-has-changed-since-aurora-theater-shooting-in-colorado-2013-7.

Healy, Jack. Gun Debate Reignites in Colorado, 2½ Years After Aurora Theater Shooting. The New York Times. February 06, 2015. Accessed October 01, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/07/us/politics/gun-debate-reignites-in-colorado-2-years-after-aurora-theater-shooting.html.

Colorado Theater Shooting Fast Facts. CNN. . Accessed October 01, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/19/us/colorado-theater-shooting-fast-facts/index.html.

Aurora Mall Cinema 3. Cinema Treasures. . Accessed October 01, 2018. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/51406.

Aurora Century 16 Movie Theater: Majority Of Those Surveyed Want Theater Reopened (POLL). Huffpost. December 06, 2017. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/aurora-century-16-movie-t_n_1903091.html.

Reuters. Movie Theater Chain Cinemark in Court Over 2012 Aurora Massacre. Fortune. May 09, 2016. Accessed December 05, 2018. http://fortune.com/2016/05/09/cinemark-aurora-trial/.

Plans, permits reveal modifications made to Aurora Century 16 theater after movie shooting. The Denver Channel. November 04, 2013. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/plans-permits-reveal-modifications-made-to-aurora-century-16-theater-after-movie-shooting.