Families of victims from the Aurora theater shooting are so outraged by an invitation to a "special evening of remembrance" that they are organizing a boycott of the event and the theater where 12 people were killed and at least 58 others were injured.

In a letter to Cinemark, family members of victims say they are shocked by the level of insensitivity shown by an invitation for "you and a guest to a special evening of remembrance on Thursday, Jan. 17."

"None of us received a letter of condolence or any other communication from Cinemark, but now they want us to step foot in that theater," said Sandy Phillips, mother of Jessica Ghawi.

Ghawi was one of the people killed when a gun man opened fire during a sold-out midnight showing of a Batman film on July 20. The theater has been closed since the shooting.

The email invitation was issued through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance and noted that counselors will be available at the theater the night of the event.

In August, the city of Aurora conducted a survey that found the majority of residents wanted to see the theater reopen. Shortly thereafter, renovations began, which included converting Theater 9 — where the shooting occurred — into an XD theater with a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor screen.

In December, Plano, Texas-based Cinemark said it planned to reopen the theater Jan. 17 with a community event that company officials said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and Gov. John Hickenlooper are expected to attend.

The company said victims and their families will be able to visit the theater Jan. 15-16, prior to the public reopening.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Cinemark by the families of those killed, and by some people who survived the shooting, citing lax security at the theater the night James Holmes allegedly opened fire in the theater.

Phillips and 11 other relatives of people killed in the shooting signed the letter thanking Cinemark "for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish."

"It's like people going back to a slaughterhouse, as far as I am concerned," Phillips said Wednesday morning.

Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, rparker@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ryanparkerdp