Will theater shooting affect Time Warner?

The tragic killings at a showing of 'The Dark Knight Rises' may impact the movie's box-office success. Studio executives reportedly considered canceling screenings in response.

By Kim Peterson Jul 20, 2012 3:17PM
Before Friday's horrific shooting at an Colorado movie theater, Time Warner (TWX) was riding high on hopes for "The Dark Knight Rises." The movie was expected to have the No. 2 opening of all time, with about $170 million in box-office sales.

But early Friday, the movie's midnight showing became the scene of a tragic crime in which a gunman shot 71 people, killing 12. The nation is reeling from the shooting, and some people are saying that they are too afraid to see "The Dark Knight Rises" in the theater because of worries about copycats.

Post continues below.
"I don't think I can go see Batman after that," one person said on Twitter. "All I would think about is the shooting and I would find myself staring at the exits." Others had similar responses.

Warner Bros. considered canceling screenings of "The Dark Knight Rises" altogether, reports TheWrap. But CNN reported Friday that the studio will go ahead with the screenings.

The New Yorker's Anthony Lane astutely noted that no specific film makes anyone kill. The 24-year-old shooter, James Holmes, was not driven by the Batman franchise to slaughter.

He continues:
The pain dealt out in Aurora is infinitely more important than the fate of one movie; despite that, however, one can only guess at the dread that will currently beset Warner Brothers and everyone connected with the film, starting with its director, Christopher Nolan. The show, one presumes, must -- or, at any rate, will -- go on, although the conditions under which it goes on will be notably nervous. Cynics may even predict an even more fearsome result at the box office.

The studio that made the film, Warner Bros., immediately canceled a Paris opening of the film and a morning press conference featuring stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman, The New York Daily News reports. Industry experts say it's too early to know if the shooting will impact the film's box-office take.

"This is utterly tragic and completely unprecedented for the industry," Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com, told the Daily News. "Everyone's still processing this tragedy. It's too early to know what this means."

Shares of Time Warner were unaffected Friday, trading near Thursday's $39.14 close.

The New York Police Department is taking no chances on any copycat incidents. About 40 theaters around the city showing "The Dark Knight Rises" will get extra police security, the Daily News reports.

Thursday midnight showings of "The Dark Knight Rises," took in an estimated $30.6 million, The New York Times reported. That beats the $18.7 million earned by "The Avengers." It's unclear how the shooting will change Warner Bros.' promotional plans for the movie, the Times reported.

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Tags: TWX
Jul 20, 2012 4:15PM
Wall Street will use any excuse or reason they can to get people to buy and sell stock.  There is no way that something this deranged should affect stock!  If it does then investors must be butt stupid!!!!
Jul 20, 2012 6:40PM
Bodies aren't even cold and all you want to talk about is how it will affect Time Warner stocks. How about how it will affect the lives of those involved.....REMEMBER THEM???!!!!!!!!
Jul 20, 2012 7:24PM
How sad is it when the media is more concerned about money then the people who were involved in this tragedy. No I will not see this movie, no I do not care about how much money is lost, what I do care is about the people this in your face publicity will affect. Where is the humanity in all of this, its just like the politicians its not about life and fairness its all about the money. May God have mercy  on those families and his wrath on those who exploit them.
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