Film industry reels from shooting20/07/2012 - 20:08:16
The movie industry was reeling from the deadly Colorado shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, as one of the most anticipated films of the decade became enmeshed in tragedy.
The shooting, which killed 12 and left at least 50 injured, upended plans for the film’s global release. Warner Bros quickly cancelled a premiere planned for Paris and cancelled press interviews in France.
“Warner Bros and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident,” a statement from Warner Bros said. “We extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to the victims, their loved ones and those affected by this tragedy.”
Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros, said he had been up since 4 am on Friday making calls.
“Everybody is very saddened by the event. We were obviously looking for a very happy occasion for us,” Mr Fellman said. “It’s a difficult way to begin. We’re just more concerned now with the wellbeing of those that were injured, of course.”
The studio had no further comment on whether screenings might be cancelled, or precautions taken. Director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cinemark Holdings, the chain that owns the theatre where the shooting happened, said it was deeply saddened.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community.
“Cinemark is working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement,” the company said.
Cinemas around the US continued Friday showings of the film as planned.
The Dark Knight Rises and the earlier Batman films, with their dark themes and emphasis on terrorism, were sure to be heavily scrutinised.
The practice of midnight screenings for eagerly anticipated blockbusters, too, could come into question.
The National Association of Theatre Owners issued a statement saying: “Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theatre owners.”
It added the group would work closely with law enforcement and review security procedures.
“We share the shock and sadness of everyone in the motion picture community at the news of this terrible event,” said Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.
The Dark Knight Rises had expectations of being one of the biggest weekend openings ever. Its midnight screenings earned $30.6 million (€25.1 million), Warner Bros said. That makes it the second-best midnight opening ever, behind $43.5 million (€35.7 million)for the Harry Potter finale. The previous Batman instalment, The Dark Knight, earned a then-record £158.4 million dollars (€130.2 million) in its first three days, including $18.5 million (€15.2 million) from midnight screenings.
The film played in roughly 3,700 cross the US in the midnight screenings, expanding to 4,404 cinemas nationwide on Friday.
Some moviegoers were rethinking their plans.
Christine Cooley in Florida said she and her 15-year-old daughter were stunned by the shooting.
“Her immediate reaction was, ’I’m never going to the movie theatre again. Why should I go somewhere where I’m looking over my shoulder worrying that someone is going to come in and harm us, when I can wait six months and watch it in the safety of my own home?”’
Cooley said she tried to explain to her daughter that it was an isolated incident, “but I see where she’s coming from. Why put yourself in harm’s way?”
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