Warner Bros. grapples with Colo. shooting
Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
NEW YORK (AP) — Director Christopher Nolan expressed sorrow and devastation Friday as the movie industry struggled with the deadly Colorado shooting at a midnight screening of Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most anticipated films in years now enmeshed with a horrifying tragedy.
"I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community," Nolan said in a statement on behalf of the cast and crew. "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."
The shooting, which killed 12 and left nearly 60 injured in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, reverberated through Hollywood and upended carefully laid plans for the global release of "The Dark Knight Rises." Warner Bros. quickly canceled a premiere planned for Paris and canceled press interviews in France.
"Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident," read a statement from Warner Bros. "We extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to the victims, their loved ones and those affected by this tragedy."
New York City's police commissioner said he was told the gunman had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker — Batman's nemesis — but Aurora police would not confirm that.
The studio rushed to react to the tragedy. Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., said he had been up since 4 a.m. making calls.
"Everybody is very saddened by the event. We were obviously looking for a very happy occasion for us," Fellman said. "It's a difficult way to begin. We're just more concerned now with the well-being of those that were injured, of course."
Warner Bros. had no further comment on whether screenings might be canceled or precautions taken. The studio did take the unprecedented step of delaying its reporting of eagerly awaited weekend box office figures for "Dark Knight" from Sunday to Monday "out of respect for the victims and their families."
Warner Bros. also moved to pull trailers for its upcoming movie "Gangster Squad" from showings of "The Dark Knight Rises." The trailer of the film, which stars Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling in a ruthless war between '40s Los Angeles police and the mob, includes a scene of mobsters firing into a movie theater from behind the screen.