Colorado shooting: Should Warner Bros. have cancelled The Dark Knight Rises screenings?

Despite Friday's massacre inside an Aurora, Colo., theater, moviegoers flock to see the final installment of the Batman trilogy

Movie theaters around the country ramped up security
(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Fans packed movie theaters across the country over the weekend to see The Dark Knight Rises, propelling the third installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy to a record opening despite Friday's mass killing during a screening in Colorado, which many expected to dampen enthusiasm more significantly. Movie studios held back their usual box-office reports out of respect for the victims, but unofficial projections suggest the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy grossed about $162 million domestically in its first weekend. If confirmed, that figure will give the movie the biggest debut ever for a 2D film, and the third biggest overall, behind 3D blockbusters The Avengers and the final Harry Potter movie. Warner Bros., the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, decided against canceling domestic screenings in the wake of the tragedy, but called off most of its debut weekend publicity blitz, including TV ads, promotional appearances by the film's stars, and premieres in Paris, Mexico City, and Tokyo. Was Warner Bros. right to mute the hype but let the show go on?

Warner Bros. wisely let moviegoers make their own minds: Beefing up security, as many theaters did, and canceling press events showed "common decency and empathy for the victims, their families, and a shaken nation," says Jen Yamato at Movie Line. But ultimately, it's up to fans to decide whether to let the fear and memory of the tragedy keep them out of the multiplex.

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