Following 'The Dark Knight Rises' Tragedy, Hollywood Mutes Box-Office Reportsby: Posted:
It doesn't happen often, Point in fact, it runs counter to nearly every demonstrated Hollywood principle.
Still, movie distributors and studios this weekend have affirmed that some things - such as compassion - can absolutely overpower the Almighty Dollar.
After James E. Holmes, 24, went on a shooting spree at an Aurora, Colo. midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" that left 12 moviegoers dead and 58 (at last count) injured, Warner Bros. executives declared that they respectfully would not report the opening weekend grosses until Monday for Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman film. The Associated Press reported Saturday that Sony, Disney, Fox, Universal and Lionsgate have shown solidarity and sympathy by likewise doing without this week's regularly scheduled fiscal horse race among releases.
Paramount didn't indicate whether it would join in the symbolic reporting silence, and box-office tracking service Rentrak confirmed it also would not report the usual Sunday totals.
For what it's worth - and that's understandably a sobering very-little at this juncture - the pre-shooting numbers from ticket pre-sales and surveys of audience anticipation had "The Dark Knight Rises" set, as predicted, to make a run at the $207.4-million, record-setting opening weekend for DC Comics rival Marvel's "The Avengers." Midnight screenings alone took in $30.6 million and Variety reported that it had made $75-77 million by the end of Friday. Doing the math, that puts it on track for an all-time second-place $165 million weekend.
Following the massacre in Aurora, Warner Bros. canceled a planned Paris premiere event, and markets including New York and Los Angeles received upgraded security at showings from local law enforcement. Theaters have placed strict bans on patrons attending in costume or bearing fake weapons. Warner Bros. also removed its trailer for the Sept. 10 release "Gangster Squad," which culminates in a shot of gunmen riddling a movie screen with bullets firing "into" the audience - unsettlingly reminiscent of Holmes' rampage.
Warner Bros. on Saturday also canceled planned gala Tokyo and Mexico City premieres.