Movie industry responds to Colorado theatre shooting
Shamecca Davis hugs her son Isaiah Bow, who was an eye witness to the mass shooting in Denver, Colorado on Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. (AP / Barry Gutierrez)
Published Friday, July 20, 2012 2:28PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 20, 2012 2:40PM EDT
The movie industry was quick to respond after a deadly Colorado shooting at a movie theatre screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” left 12 dead and dozens more wounded.
Cineplex Entertainment, the largest film exhibitor in Canada, issued a swift response after the Aurora, Colo. shooting made international headlines on Friday.
“We are shocked and saddened by last night's tragedy in Aurora, Colorado and extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those affected,” the company said.
“The safety and security of our guests remains our top priority, and while we believe this was an isolated incident, we have security measures in place for our upcoming shows,” Cineplex added, though it announced no plans to cancel any Friday screenings.
Cinemark Holdings, Inc., the chain that owns the theatre where the shooting unfolded, issued a statement saying it was deeply saddened.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community. ... Cinemark is working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement," the company said.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Pictures, the film’s distributor, cancelled a premiere in Paris on Friday as well as its press interviews in France.
"Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time,” the organization said.
Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros, told The Associated Press 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 additional comment on whether other screenings would be cancelled.
The Paris premiere was to take place at a theatre on the French capital's famed Champs-Elysees was supposed to include director Christopher Nolan and stars such as Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
“The Dark Knight Rises” was scheduled to open at 4,404 theatres, including 332 Imax locations this weekend across North America – the second highest all-time number of venues behind the 4,468 locations that screened “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” in 2010.
Friday’s shooting rampage in Colorado has left theatre owners and police scrambling to beef up security for moviegoers.
According to the American daily, The News Herald, one local theatre in Bay County’s Panama City has announced plans to increase checks.
Employees working in the Carmike 10 Theatre will be conducting theatre checks every 15 minutes during, instead of every half hour, during future screenings.
The theatre’s employees will also conduct double-checks at exit doors and patron’s bags, especially for late screenings of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Midnight screenings could also come into question. The National Association of Theatre Owners issued a statement saying, "Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theatre owners." The association said it work closely with authorities and review security procedures.
"We share the shock and sadness of everyone in the motion picture community at the news of this terrible event," said Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.”
With files from The Associated Press.