Newtown School Shootings: How Hollywood Reacted
Hollywood has been scrambling in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last Friday. Glitzy movie premieres have been canceled, television schedules have been upended, and stars have taken to Twitter and other platforms to debate gun control laws.
From David Letterman's fiery monologue about the school murders to Paramount's decision to downplay firearms in trailers for "Jack Reacher," the entertainment business has been trying to find the best way to be sympathetic to a climate of national grief, while also rolling out several massively expensive films and television shows, many of them violent, in its wake.
Efforts by studios and entertainers to curb bloody content are earning high marks. Even the Parents Television Council, a vocal critic of violent and sexually explicit movies and shows, praised the industry's sensitivity, while also saying it hopes the events of last week change the business' tolerance for more provocative fare.
"The Parents Television Council applauds the action of corporations and individuals in the entertainment industry who have taken extraordinary measures to alter their business activities out of respect and concern for those impacted by the tragedy of Newtown. But we also ask those same corporations and individuals why that respect and concern would be temporary," PTC president Tim Winter said in a statement.
Here's a look at how the entertainment business has reacted to the tragedy.
The Weinstein Company canceled the Los Angeles premiere for Quentin Tarantino's ultra-violent western "Django Unchained."
In place of a red carpet event Monday, the studio held a private screening for industry types and the film's cast.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and in this time of national mourning we have decided to forgo our scheduled event," a Weinstein Company spokesperson said in a statement.
Perhaps no movie has been put in a more awkward position by the shootings than Tom Cruise's upcoming "Jack Reacher." The big-screen adaptation of Lee Child's popular mystery novels opens with a sniper killing five people, making parallels with the events in Newtown unavoidable.
In response, Paramount has altered the marketing for the film to minimize the gunfire and violence. It also canceled last Saturday's Pittsburgh premiere in favor of a more low-key screening on Wednesday, sans red carpet.
"Nobody should be celebrating anything 24 hours after a tragic event like that," director and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie told TheWrap.
In addition, a planned fundraiser and screening for the Film Society of Lincoln Center was postponed out of respect for the events in Newtown.
JAY LENO, CONAN O'BRIEN
Jay Leno openly questioned whether he should even be on the air Friday night given the events in Connecticut, but said that he ultimately decided people needed a distraction. He later discussed the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school and seemed to endorse greater gun control measures while talking with guest Tavis Smiley.
Meanwhile, Conan O'Brien kicked off his show Monday by saying he wouldn't do a monologue joking about the news because of "Friday's insanely mindless tragedy."
The school shooting prompted Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman turned host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," to do an about face on gun control.
"I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children," he said on Monday's episode. "Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable."
SyFy pulled an episode of "Haven" last Friday that contained violent scenes in a high school setting. To put more space between the show and the events in Newtown, SyFy decided to reschedule it along with the series' season three finale.
The episodes will now air back-to-back on Thursday, Jan. 17.
David Letterman spent six minutes discussing the shootings, saying he was deeply shaken in part because he is the father of a young child.