US box office goes silent in wake of Colorado shooting

By Jake Coyle, AP

NEW YORK — In the aftermath of the Colorado shooting during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” Hollywood studios banded together to withhold box-office reporting through the weekend, while Warner Bros. frantically rushed to remove a movie trailer with now eerie relevance.

While the weekend is usually Hollywood’s time to peddle its flashy offerings and tout its millions in box office, the second day of release for “The Dark Knight Rises” was anything but business as usual following the Aurora, Colorado, shootings that killed 12 and wounded 58 at a Friday midnight showing of the new Batman film.

“Words cannot express the horror that I feel,” Christian Bale, who stars as the caped crusader in the film, said in a statement. “I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.”

All of the major studios in Hollywood said Saturday they were joining “Dark Knight Rises” distributor Warner Bros. in withholding their box-office numbers for the weekend. Sony, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Lionsgate followed Warner Bros.’ lead in forgoing the usual revenue report until Monday out of respect for the victims and their families.

Box-office tracking service Rentrak, too, said it would not report figures this weekend, leaving a weekly Hollywood tradition of boasting to go silent for awhile.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is sure to be among the most lucrative movie openings. It was seen as a possible contender with the record US$207.4 million brought in by “The Avengers,” but that appears unlikely even though “The Dark Knight Rises” earned US$30.6 million from the Friday midnight screenings alone.