"It was boilerplate Hollywood — 'Come to our movie screening,'" said Anita Busch, whose cousin, 23-year-old college student Micayla Medek, died at the theater.
The remembrance was followed by a private screening in the former theater nine of the fantasy film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."
Victims have filed at least three federal lawsuits against Cinemark Holdings Inc., alleging it should have provided security for the July 20 midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," and that the exit door used by the gunman to get his weapons and re-enter should have had an alarm. In court papers, Cinemark says the tragedy was "unforeseeable and random."
"We certainly recognize all the different paths that people take to mourn, the different paths that people take to recover from unimaginable, incomprehensible loss," Gov. John Hickenlooper said at the ceremony.
"Some wanted this theater to reopen. Some didn't. Certainly both answers are correct," Hickenlooper said.
The governor credited Cinemark CEO Tim Warner for flying to Colorado after hearing about the shooting to see what he could do.
Warner told attendees that the caring response to the tragedy by first responders, the community and the world was a testament that good triumphs over evil.
Samuel Aquila, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Denver, concluded the ceremony with a prayer for the dead and the living.
"All of us in some small way suffered in your suffering," Aquila told the crowd. "The way of peace means rejecting the violence of that night."
"Let us abandon the violence we consume in the media, and the violence we may harbor in our hearts," said Aquila, who penned an opinion article, published in The Denver Post on Thursday, criticizing violence in the mass media.
Cinemark planned to offer free movies at the multiplex to the public over the weekend, then permanently reopen it Jan. 25.
Vanessa Ayala is a cousin of Jonathan Blunk, a 26-year-old Navy veteran and father of two who was killed. Ayala said she believed the multiplex should have been torn down and, perhaps, turned into a park. At the very least, she said, the auditorium where the shooting occurred should have become a memorial.