(NEW YORK) — Despite the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the film took in about $162 million in North America, the New York Times reported today.
Warner Bros. announced it would hold off reporting the film’s opening grosses until Monday, but the information was leaked to several media outlets.
“Out of respect for the victims and their families,” the studio said in a statement to ABC News, “Warner Bros. Pictures will not be reporting box office numbers for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ throughout the weekend. Box office numbers will be released on Monday.”
This is an unprecedented move because the practice of releasing box office numbers for an opening weekend is standard for Warner Bros. and most major Hollywood studios.
James Holmes, 24, is accused of opening fire on unsuspecting moviegoers Friday during a sold-out midnight screening of the new “Batman” film at a mall in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Police said the alleged shooter was wearing a gas mask and was dressed in body armor.
“My heart aches and breaks for the lives taken and altered by this unfathomably senseless act,” said Anne Hathaway in a statement, according to People Magazine. Hathaway plays Catwoman in the film. “I am at a loss for words how to express my sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
“Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them,” Christian Bale, who plays Bruce Wayne/Batman in “The Dark Knight Rises,” said in a statement Saturday.
Christopher Nolan, director of “The Dark Knight Rises,” called the mass shooting a “senseless tragedy.”
“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community,” he said in a statement released by his publicist today. “I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. 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,” he said, “and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
Warner Bros. also removed the trailer for the Ryan Gosling film “Gangster Squad,” which features a movie theater shooting scene, from screenings of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The studio pulled some TV ads for the Batman film, according to Bloomberg News.
The studio does not plan to pull the movie from theaters, but canceled the Paris premiere of the film after learning about the shooting. Nolan and cast members Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman also scrapped media interviews.
Some theaters are offering to refund those who bought tickets early. AMC released a statement this weekend saying it will exchange and refund tickets per the chain’s existing policy. It also banned moviegoers in “costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable” and said it “will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings.”
Suspected shooter James Holmes had painted his hair red and told cops, “I am the Joker,” when apprehended.
Many cities are stepping up security at theaters in light of the tragedy. New York City police Commissioner Ray Kelly released a statement this morning, saying, “As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing in the five boroughs.”
Police in Washington, D.C., have been told to provide “special attention” to movie theaters.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Parija Kavilanz, CNN