UPDATED: Warner Bros will not report opening weekend estimates for Christopher Nolan’s Batman finale on Sunday out of respect for the victims and families of the Aurora shootings at the Century 16 Movie Theatre in the small hours of Friday morning (20). Box office results will be issued on Monday.
The studio declined to say whether the tragedy that left at least 12 people dead and scores more wounded would impact on its global marketing and in-house publicity campaigns.
Friday’s premiere and press junket in Paris were cancelled and studio executives in North America pulled a trailer of the upcoming Ryan Gosling crime drama Gangster Squad, which by a terrible coincidence depicted an in-theatre massacre.
Former neuroscience student and Aurora resident James Holmes, 24, is in custody in connection with the attack. It is understood he used guns and tear gas and did not resist arrest in a car park behind the multiplex. Law enforcement officers raced to his home address and found it to be booby-trapped.
Warner Bros issued a statement that read: “Warner Bros is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”
Director Christopher Nolan’s statement read: “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.”
Exhibitor Cinemark, which owns the Century 16, said in a statement: “Cinemark is deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community. We are grateful for the quick and professional reaction of all local law enforcement and emergency responders. Cinemark is working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement.”
Motion Picture Association Of America chairman and CEO Chris Dodd issued a statement that read. “We share the shock and sadness of everyone in the motion picture community at the news of this terrible event. We extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by this tragedy.”
A National Association Of Theatre Owners statement read: “On behalf of all the members and staff of the National Association Of Theatre Owners, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this despicable act and their families. We are grateful for the quick and effective response by police and emergency personnel. Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. NATO members are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.”
US President Barack Obama cancelled a campaign trip to Florida and said he said he and the First Lady were “shocked and saddened” by events. “As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family,” Obama said. “All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”
The film’s star Christian Bale issued this statement: “Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.”