The Aurora, Colorado movie theater where 12 people were killed last July during a shooting rampage is reopening Thursday with a private ceremony honoring the victims.
Cinemark's "evening of remembrance" at the renovated theater — now named the Century Aurora instead of Century 16 — comes nearly 6 months after James Holmes allegedly opened fire on an audience watching a July 20 midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." About 70 people were also wounded in the attack.
Aurora mayor Steve Hogan has said the community supports the "important venue" reopening and calls it "part of the healing process."
Tom Sullivan, who lost his 27-year-old son, Alex Sullivan, during the shooting, agrees with Hogan.
"The community wants the theater back and by God, it's back," Sullivan told AP. "Nobody is going to stop us from living our lives the way that we lived our lives before. This is where I live."
Undisclosed city officials, first responders and victims will attend tonight's ceremony, but not everyone in town is as welcoming to the idea.
A number of families who lost loved ones during the massacre objected to the event when Cinemark mailed them invitations to attend two days after Christmas.
"Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult," they wrote in a letter published in the Denver Post. "Timing is everything and yours is awful."
Despite the objections and a few federal lawsuits, Cinemark is moving forward with plans to open the recently renovated theater's box office for business as usual.
Following Thursday's ceremony, the 16-screen theater will be offering free movies to the community throughout the weekend before beginning to sell tickets again on Jan. 25.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees and the entire Aurora community," a statement on Cinemark's website reads.
Calls to Cinemark from TheWrap for comment were not immediately returned.