Report: Warner Bros. may cancel 'Dark Knight' screenings*

Studio executives are meeting to consider options in light of last night's massacre in Aurora, Colorado, reports The Wrap's Sharon Waxman. Warner Bros. has already canceled the Paris premiere, but any move to shut down the U.S. screenings would obviously be drastic - not to mention costly. Just the mechanics of such a move are daunting, if not altogether impossible. From The Wrap:

The film rolled out on 3,700 screens for midnight Thursday screenings, and is set to be seen in a total of 4,404 theaters, with a record 332 Imax screens. "The Dark Knight Rises" is Warner Bros.' biggest release of the year thus far. It was expected by box office analysts to open between $170 million and $195 million. That would make it the best U.S. opening ever for a non-3D movie. The film is also set to roll out on 6,765 screens overseas in 17 territories.

*Update: Ads for the film are being pulled from broadcast and cable channels, reports the LAT.

TV ads for "The Dark Knight Rises" feature numerous violent scenes from the movie, including Batman aiming an enormous gun almost directly at the camera. In another ad, a character not seen on screen states, "These are violent criminals that terrorize Gotham." Warner Bros. is one of the biggest advertisers in Hollywood, spending $738.9 million to promote its movies last year, according to Kantar Media.

*Update: As you might expect, Warner Bros. has decided not to temporarily pull the film. Given the dollars involved, the whole idea seemed a little far-fetched.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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