Tasked with finding some way, any way to get people excited for Iron Man 3, the manager of a movie theater in Jefferson City, Missouri, hit upon the idea of having people dressed in full tactical gear and carrying what appeared to be assault weapons storm the screening, thus causing the audience to freak out over what a great time at the movies they were about to have. Also, unfortunately and somehow unexpectedly, over the possibility of this being a deadly theater shooting akin to last year’s tragedy in Aurora, Colorado—a conclusion many jumped to, after their own comic-book movie premiere was similarly interrupted by gun-toting, body armor-clad men. Regrettably, they didn't stop to consider the possibility that maybe those men were supposed to be members of the fictional government agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and not just everyday crazy people out to murder everyone, probably due to the creeping adult cynicism that so erodes our childlike sense of wonder.
Police responded to several of these panicked theatergoers' 911 calls, with Capt. Doug Shoemaker later telling local news affiliates it was a good thing an off-duty officer wasn’t in attendance, because he likely would have failed to realize this was just the fun kind of surprise armed invasion. Said Shoemaker, “Everything was in place, it's the opening night of a superhero movie, it's somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen. There’s really no good that can come of this.”
Except entertainment, of course, which is what theater manager Bob Wilkins thinks he was providing and, for some reason, is supposed to provide. “My job is to entertain people,” Wilkins said of his self-assigned duties, which go beyond just ensuring that movies start on time and that his employees don’t contaminate the popcorn with their molting teenaged skin, like most theater managers who don’t also believe they work in the entertainment industry. Among those successfully entertained by Wilkins was retired Army war veteran John Molock, who said Wilkins’ stunt had triggered his PTSD—which we can only surmise stands for “Party Time Superhero Day.” Congratulations to Bob Wilkins for making that happen for him.
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