Photo via Imgur

Fans dressing up as their favorite movie characters while attending opening weekend film showings is nothing new. However, costumed moviegoers who partnered with Capital 8 Theatres in Missouri to promote the premiere of Iron Man 3 recently caused a panic, for which the theater is now apologizing.

Had the cosplayers been dressed as Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, we imagine no one would have been particularly alarmed, but some group members donned S.H.I.E.L.D agent costumes — complete with fake firearms — which, given last year’s tragic shooting at an Aurora, CO movie theater (and the current high-alert mentality when it comes to guns), might not have been the best idea.

Moviegoers, understandably frightened by the sight of people dressed in what appeared to be body armor and carrying assault rifles, called the local police. Once the dust settled, the complaints began rolling in and the theater was skewered on social media, some even accusing Capital 8 of intentionally causing the kerfuffle as a publicity stunt. In response, the company issued the following apology:

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