A South Philadelphia man enraged because a family was talking during a Christmas showing of
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
decided to deal with the situation by shooting the father, police said.
James Joseph Cialella Jr., 29, of the 1900 block of South Hollywood Street, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons violations.
His alleged victim, whom police did not identify, was shot in the left arm. He was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
"It's truly frightening when you see something like this evolve into such violence," said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore, "that something like this leads to a shooting in a movie theater."
Police were called to the United Artists Theatre Riverview Plaza in the 1400 block of Columbus Boulevard about 9:30 p.m., less than an hour into the filmed adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story that stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.
As the story of a man's aging backward unfolded on the screen, drama among the spectators erupted when Cialella grew angry that a family sitting in front of him was talking too loudly, Vanore said.
Cialella told the family to be quiet and threw popcorn at a boy who had been talking to his father. The father, 31, exchanged words with Cialella, who got out of his seat and came around the aisle to confront the family, Vanore said.
The father stood, shielding his family, Vanore said. The argument turned physical. Cialella then pulled a black handgun and shot the father, sending others in the crowded theater running for safety, according to police.
Vanore said Cialella then returned to his seat and continued watching the movie.
The victim and witnesses were able to identify the gunman, who was confronted in the theater by police. Vanore said officers found a Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun on Cialella, who was taken into custody and charged.