A Missouri movie theater today apologized "to those who felt they were in harm’s way" when cosplayers arrived for the Iron Man 3 premiere in Jefferson City carrying fake firearms. The incident was initially described as a "publicity stunt" for the movie's opening weekend, but Capital 8 Theatres says it was simply a group of costumed fans who dressed as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to make the premiere more entertaining. Unfortunately, several moviegoers were reportedly alarmed by the sight of a man walking into the theater with what looked like body armor and an assault rifle, which some felt was reminiscent of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting during the 2012 opening weekend of The Dark Knight Rises. (However, some attendees and friends of the cosplayers have stated online that costumes were only worn inside the theater.) The theater has since been skewered in social media, sparking the following apology on Facebook: "We apologize and are sympathetic to those who felt they were in harm’s way with our character promotion for Iron Man 3. This was not a publicity stunt. We have worked with the Cosplacon group on many movies to dress up and help entertain our customers. We have had many complaints about the members dressed specifically as S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives carrying fake guns. We didn’t clearly tell our customers and some people didn’t realize it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologize that police were called to come out to our theater. We have a wonderful working relationship with the Jefferson City Police Department. Going forward we will take the necessary steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Security and safety for our customers is our number one priority. " The photo above is part of an Imgur gallery featuring shots reportedly taken at the theater the night of the premiere.