By now I’m sure everyone will have heard about the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. A lone gunman by the name of James Holmes opened fire at a Century 16 Movie Theater, randomly shooting 70 people, 12 of whom were killed. Thoughts and prayers are no doubt with the victims and their families.
That this took place during a midnight screening of Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises has unfortunately cast a shadow on the film. As noted by Devin Faraci at Badass Digest, this act “has nothing to do with movies or The Dark Knight Rises.” Unfortunately it cannot be helped that connections are likely to be made and the film will sadly become synonymous with this shooting. Nevertheless, Warner and cinema chains have been quick to react.
The film is predicted to earn in excess of $170 million at the US box office during its opening weekend, but it’s difficult to comprehend just how much of a factor this misfortune will affect its takings, if at all. With sold out screenings across the US, given what has happened, will some audiences still be in the mood to go see the film?
Warner reacted by first cancelling the film’s premiere in Paris, France which was to take place on Friday evening, as well as all press interviews with the cast. A wise move, since it’s likely that the cast would simply be hounded with questions about the shooting. However, director Christopher Nolan has since released the following statement:
“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
Warner then pulled the trailer of its upcoming film Gangster Squad from all cinemas in the US. The action packed trailer features a scene where gangsters with Tommy Guns open fire on people sat in a cinema from behind a cinema screen. It’s uncertain if the scene itself will remain intact once the film is released.
TV ads for The Dark Knight Rises have now been dropped by a number of networks in the US. Warner is also considering cancelling the film’s premiere in Mexico City and Tokyo. However, they will not be cancelling screenings of the film (an option that had been discussed).
Warner then announced that they would not be reporting on the film’s box office takings this weekend. While its gross is expected to be huge, its success is not what will be on most peoples minds, with Warner releasing the following the statement:
“Out of respect for the victims and their families, Warner Bros. Pictures will not be reporting box office numbers for The Dark Knight Rises throughout the weekend. Box office numbers will be released on Monday.”
Given Holmes’ appearance as he entered the Century 16 Movie Theater , the Regal and AMC chains in the US have banned moviegoers from wearing costumes and masks. AMC have said, “We will not allow any guests into our theaters in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable, and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings.”
Worried about a copycat occurrence, here in the UK the Odeon cinema chain reacted by issuing the following statement:
“Odeon take the safety and enjoyment of their guests very seriously and in light of the recent incident that took place in the States at a screening yesterday evening, Odeon will be continuing their vigilant safety measures and further operational procedures will be introduced to ensure a safe and quality service.”
Cinemark, which owns the theater chain where the shooting took place, had their share price drop by 4%. However they were not the only ones. The Regal Entertainment Group, Marcus Group and even IMAX all showed a slight decline.