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Colorado theater shooting victim families angry over movie invitation

The Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center is shown in this July 20, 2012 photo.

January 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Families of those killed in the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre are outraged the owner invited them to a special reopening event.

Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded when a gunman walked into a midnight screening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20 and opened fire.

The theater has since been remodeled, and the owner plans to reopen on Jan. 17. Invitations for a special "evening of remembrance" followed by a movie were sent to the victims' families just two days after Christmas. The families said the gesture was disgusting and poorly timed.

"That is a blatant lack of respect for the families," said Jessica Watts, a relative of a shooting victim. "They're looking to boost their own ticket sales for the grand reopening to the public."

The victims' families plan to boycott the reopening. They released a letter sent to the theater's owner, Cinemark, in which they criticized the Plano, Texas-based company for not previously reaching out to them to offer condolences and refusing to meet with them without lawyers.

The theater's owner refused to comment, but pointed out the public's overwhelming support to reopen the theater.

Meantime, prosecutors plan to outline their case against alleged gunman James Holmes next week. Holmes is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder and hasn't been asked to enter a plea yet. His lawyers have said he suffers from mental illness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.