Meyer added that he didn't think the content of the movie had anything to do with the crime: "You can't really attribute the actions of a nut to the movies," he said. "Two years ago, he would have picked 'Avatar.'"
Still, despite sharing that logic, some were showing nerves. In Hollywood, Fla., Steve Parenteau, 45, said he wasn't thinking at all about the shooting. But his 13-year-old son, Noah, looked solemn, saying the Colorado tragedy was on his mind. "It's scary," he said. "I can picture it."
And at a multiplex in downtown Chicago, roommates Sarah Cantor and Brittany Carter avoided a midnight showing. "I was relieved to know that we were going to a matinee," said Cantor, 23.
Still, most moviegoers echoed the feeling that the attack could have happened anywhere, anytime.
"Things are going to happen wherever they're going to happen, because people are nuts wherever," said Rachel Cox, who saw the movie at Atlanta's Midtown Arts Cinema. "Crazy travels, so I don't really think it has anything to do with geography or the movie ... crazy people are crazy." Still, she added, she planned to sit in the back — because she likes the view from there, but also because she considered it safer, even before Colorado.
In midtown Manhattan, Randy Cordero and Megan Rivera sat on the pavement outside an AMC Loews Theater, waiting with soft drinks and a magazine for a late-afternoon show. They'd bought their tickets online Saturday, and said the shooting hadn't affected their plans. They'd hoped for a midnight showing, but it was sold out.
"I don't think it'll happen to me, but it can always happen," noted Cordero. But Rivera said there was one thing that would indeed cause her some concern: seeing someone in costume, especially as the Joker (New York's police commissioner, Ray Kelly, said the shooter, James Holmes, had his hair painted red and said he was the Joker, but Aurora police have not confirmed that.) "I'd feel more cautious, and I'd think, 'I've got to watch that guy,'" she said.
Waiting for an earlier show at the same theater was Devin Favors, 24, an event ticket broker from Brooklyn. He said he'd bought his ticket last week, but even if he hadn't, nothing would have stopped him from seeing the movie.
After all, he said, "This is America. And you should be able to go where you want to go, and see what you want to see."
Ray Henry in Atlanta, Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo., Kelli Kennedy in Hollywood, Fla., Verena Dobnik in New York City, Michelle Nealy in Chicago, James MacPherson in Bismarck, N.D., and Christopher Sherman in McAllen, Texas, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.