The Aurora Theater Shootings
5:50 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

'Dark Knight' Events Canceled, Theaters Add Guards

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:56 pm

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in a Colorado theater, the hoopla surrounding a blockbuster movie opening was toned down, and theaters around the country began beefing up security.

Warner Bros., the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, canceled Friday night's red-carpet premiere in Paris. It also called off a press conference with the director and the stars.

The studio issued a statement extending sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colo. There were similar condolences from the Motion Pictures Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owners.

Those who work in Hollywood were also wondering what this could mean for the movie business.

The newest Batman film is the finale to a trilogy of Dark Knight movies.

"It's a dark movie, and it prides itself on being a dark series, and it's very successful partly for that reason," says Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief of the Hollywood website TheWrap.com.

An Earlier Tragedy

She notes that actor Heath Ledger died of a accidental prescription drug overdose after he played the role of The Joker in the first Dark Knight film.

Waxman says Hollywood is now shocked by this latest tragedy, and also worried that people might accuse the movie industry of inciting violence. "I think there will be a layer of apprehension around whether there's going to be some dots connected between that and what inspired this 24-year-old man to open fire in a theater," she says.

The newest Batman film was hoping to pull in somewhere around $200 million at the box office in the U.S. over this opening weekend, not to mention profits from an additional 4,000 screens worldwide.

"Before this happened, it was projected to be the biggest opening for a non-3-D movie in history," Waxman says.

Waxman says it's too soon to know how much the film might lose at the box office this opening weekend. Warner Bros. reported that Thursday night's midnight screenings grossed $30.6 million.

Some movie theaters are beefing up security with local police officers. AMC Theatres is banning moviegoers from wearing masks and carrying fake weapons.

Also, Warner Bros. also pulled the nationwide promotional trailer for another film, Gangster Squad.

The trailer features a scene of mobsters opening fire in a movie theater. It's not an the image the studio or audiences want to be reminded of on this day.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Colorado shooting occurred during a much-anticipated moment for fans of the "Batman" movies, the first midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." And so, inevitably, there is a Hollywood angle to the story, for the movie studio and for movie theaters. Theaters around the country began beefing up security.

With more, here NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Warner Brothers canceled tonight's red-carpet premiere of "Dark Knight Rises" in Paris. The studio issued a statement extending sympathies to the victims' families and loved ones, so did the movie's director Christopher Nolan speaking on behalf of the cast and crew. The movie theater is my home, he wrote, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Those who work in Hollywood are also wondering what this could mean for the movie business.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BARCO: The newest "Batman" film is the finale to a trilogy of "Dark Knight" movies.

SHARON WAXMAN: It's a dark movie, and it prides itself on being a dark series, and it's very successful partly for that reason.

BARCO: Sharon Waxman, editor in chief of the Hollywood website TheWrap, notes that actor Heath Ledger tragically overdosed after playing the role of villain The Joker in the first "Dark Knight" movie. Waxman says Hollywood is now shocked by this latest tragedy and also worried that people might accuse the movie of inciting violence.

WAXMAN: And I think that there will be a layer of apprehension around whether there's going to be some dots connected between that and what inspired this man, this 24-year-old man to open fire in a theater.

BARCO: "The Dark Knight Rises" had been set to pull in $195 million at the box office in the U.S., not to mention profits from another 4,000 screens worldwide.

WAXMAN: Before this happened, it was projected to be the biggest opening for a non-3-D movie in history.

BARCO: Waxman says it's too soon to know how much the film might lose at the box office this opening weekend. Warner Brothers reported last night's midnight screenings grossed $30.6 million. Some movie theaters around the country are beefing up security with local police officers. AMC Theatres is banning moviegoers from wearing face-covering masks and carrying fake weapons and won't allow guests to wear costumes and make others uncomfortable. Today, Warner Brothers also pulled the nationwide promotional trailer for another film, "Gangster Squad."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "GANGSTER SQUAD")

SEAN PENN: (as Mickey Cohen) You just got to put him down.

BARCO: "Gangster Squad's" trailer features a scene of mobsters opening fire in a movie theater, not the image the studio or audiences want to be reminded of today.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.