May 22, 2013
US shooting quiets Hollywood, slows 'Dark Knight' box office
Hollywood studios will not release box-offices figures on Sunday after the fatal gun rampage at a midnight showing for the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," which made less money than some industry insiders projected.
The film grossed $74 million on Friday in the United States and Canada and is seen generating $173 million by the end of the weekend, people with knowledge of industry figures said on Saturday.
Official figures were not released by the distributor, Warner Bros. For the first time box office watchers could remember, Hollywood's other major film studios decided not to release weekend ticket sales figures on Saturday.
"We're joining our colleagues at Warner Bros and not reporting grosses during this period of mourning," Sony Pictures said in a statement.
Hollywood.com Box Office, which reports the weekend figures, said it was not sure if it would publish its list this week.
A Warner Brothers spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment on Friday night numbers.
"Dark Knight Rises" was one of the most-anticipated films of the year before a gunman opened fire on moviegoers at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colorado, early Friday, killing 12 people and wounding 58 more.
Ahead of the debut, box office forecasters predicted opening weekend sales in a range of $170 million to $198 million from Friday through Sunday, just shy of the record $207 million set by superhero movie "The Avengers" in May.
"The cable news networks were wall-to-wall with the shooting, so it had some shock value that will keep people away," former Columbia Pictures marketing chief Peter Sealey said. "But it will be short term. This movie will play for five or six weeks and still do great business."
Since many people bought tickets in advance, they likely decided to put aside any fears and see the film, said Paul Dergarabedian, head of Hollywood.com Box Office.
After the shooting, theaters tightened security, and Warner Bros. scaled back promotional plans, canceling a Paris premiere and appearances by the cast and crew in Mexico and Japan.
Ronn Torossian, chief executive of New York-based 5W Public Relations, which is not involved with the movie's release, said it was smart for the studios to stay quiet in the days after such a horrific event. He said he expected the marketing for upcoming, violent films like "The Expendables" to tweak their advertising. But by September, if not earlier, that will change.
"This will affect marketing movies in the short-term," he said. "(But) the media has a very short memory, and it's something that in the long run will not affect" film promotion.