Warner Bros. is canceling some television advertising for “The Dark Knight Rises” following the shooting today that killed at least 12 people in Aurora, Colorado, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Two versions of the ads will be pulled entirely, said one of the people, who sought anonymity because the decision isn’t public.
The Time Warner Inc.-owned movie studio was considering other measures to adjust to the tragedy in the middle of opening weekend. Some advertisements have elements that may remind audiences of the shooting. The movie’s villain, Bane, for example, has his face covered by a mask in ads, similar to the gas mask worn by the shooter.
“There may be some link — it’s cautous, it’s appropriate for Warner Bros. to act in this way,” said Yong Liu, associate professor of marketing at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He said he expects ticket sales to be affected. “Not only sales, but emotions of audiences that watch the movie. That’s a big tragedy. It will have some influence.”
Warner Bros. spent an estimated $250 million on the production, according to researcher Internet Movie Database.
The movie, which opened today, marks the third and final Batman pairing of actor Christian Bale with director Christopher Nolan. Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan, in a favorable review, called it “the bleakest, most despairing superhero film ever made.”