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Hollywood Struggles for Proper Response to Shooting

LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood specializes in making movies that are escapes from reality. Now a film has been linked to an act of real-life violence, leaving movie executives scrambling to respond.


Warner Brothers and its corporate allies spent last Friday struggling with the deadly shooting in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises,'' a brooding, apocalyptic film that has been at the center of a studio strategy built around superheroes, fantasies and brushes with violence.

上周五,华纳兄弟(Warner Brothers)公司及盟友整整一天都在苦苦思考,面对科罗拉多奥罗拉午夜播放《黑暗骑士崛起》(The Dark Knight Rises)电影时发生的枪击案,应采取何种对策。该公司的市场战略围绕着超级英雄、奇幻和暴力展开,而这部阴暗、天启式的电影一直以来在公司处于战略核心地位。

By Friday afternoon, publicity for the movie had stopped, a Paris premiere had been canceled, and a trailer for a future Warner release, "Gangster Squad," which depicts four men shooting up a movie theater, had been pulled from theaters. Some broadcast networks and cable channels, including Fox Broadcasting and NBC, stopped running commercials for the film.

到了上周五下午,关于该电影的宣传中止了,巴黎的首映式被取消,华纳新电影《匪帮传奇》(Gangster Squad)的预告片从各个院线撤出。预告片上,四个男人正在扫射一家电影院。部分电视广播网和有线电视频道,包括福克斯广播网和NBC,停止播映关于该电影的广告。

But a stunned Hollywood was also left looking for direction.


Declining to speak publicly were Barry M. Meyer, the chief executive of Warner Brothers; Jeff Robinov, the president of Warner Brothers Pictures; and Thomas Tull, the chief executive of Legendary Entertainment, which helped to produce "The Dark Knight Rises."

目前有几位高管仍婉拒公开表态,其中包括华纳兄弟的首席执行官巴里·M.迈耶(Barry M. Meyer)、华纳兄弟影业董事长杰夫·罗比诺夫(Jeff Robinov),以及传奇娱乐(Legendary Entertainment)首席执行官托马斯·图尔(Thomas Tull),后者的公司参与制作了《黑暗骑士崛起》。

Early Friday, Warner issued a two-sentence statement that said the studio and its filmmakers were "deeply saddened" by the shooting, in which 12 people were killed and dozens wounded, and extended "sincere sympathies" to the families of victims.


Mr. Meyer, in a letter to Warner employees on Friday, encouraged "thoughts and prayers" for the victims and advised his fellow workers to seek solace from friends and families, or help from the company's human resources team. Warner was expected to refrain this weekend from the usual reporting of box office numbers.


Speaking for the film's cast and crew, Christopher Nolan, the director, issued a statement in which he called the killings "appalling."

该片导演克里斯托弗·诺兰(Christopher Nolan)代表该片剧组发表了一个声明,他说这起杀戮事件“骇人听闻”。

He added, "The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me."


It was still unclear what impact the shooting would have on the studio's marketing and promotional plans, now that its summer blockbuster has been linked to a tragedy that authorities say killed 12 people and wounded at least 59 more.


The movie, the final one in a trilogy of Batman movies directed by Mr. Nolan, has been publicly reported to have a budget of about $250 million, and worldwide marketing expenses could easily drive the total cost beyond $400 million.


Cinemark Holdings Inc., the Texas-based chain that owns Aurora's Century 16 theater, where the shooting occurred, said in a statement that it was "deeply saddened" by the incident and was "working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement." Cinemark officials did not immediately respond to queries on Friday morning.

喜满客控股公司(Cinemark Holdings Inc.)是总部设在得克萨斯的连锁院线,拥有“奥罗拉16”电影院,枪击案就发生在这家电影院。喜满客在声明中说,公司为这起事件感到“极度悲伤”,目前“正在与奥罗拉警方和当地执法部门紧密合作。”在上周五上午,公司官员没有立即回复本报的问询。

The third-largest theater chain in the United States, Cinemark operate about 300 theaters with nearly 4,000 screens. Its much larger competitor, Regal Entertainment Group, said in a statement that it would "monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary."

喜满客是美国规模第三大的院线,管理约300家影院,拥有近4000块银幕。比它规模大得多的竞争者帝王娱乐集团(Regal Entertainment Group)则在声明中说,它会“密切观察局势,在必要时调整我们的安保需求。”

AMC Entertainment, North America's second-largest theater chain, also expressed sadness about incident in a statement and said it was "actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation, and under the circumstances we are reaching out to all of our theaters to review our safety and security procedures.''


In New York City, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said his department would provide coverage at theaters where "The Dark Knight Rises" is playing in the five boroughs.

在纽约,警察局长雷蒙德·W.凯利(Raymond W. Kelly)说,《黑暗骑士崛起》在纽约市五大区公映期间,纽约警察局将会在各影院部署安保人员。

Carmike Cinemas, another major chain, also in a statement, noted that it uses both uniformed security and plainclothes officers and hidden security procedures "not in the sight of our guests."

美国另一家大型连锁院线卡麦克影业(Carmike Cinemas)在声明中说,公司将会请穿制服的保安和便衣警察共同执勤,安保任务将尽量隐蔽执行,“不会打搅观众”。

But one theater executive, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid possible conflict with fellow executives in a rapidly changing situation, said it was nearly impossible to devise a broad response to the killings without knowing more about the incident. That executive said his chain, one of the country's largest, so far had not changed its plans for "The Dark Knight."


Cinemark shares were down 91 cents to $23.36 in Nasdaq trading at midday. Regal and Carmike Cinemas saw similar declines, as investors drew back only slightly on the incident.


"The Dark Knight Rises" took in $30.6 million in 12:01 a.m. shows on Friday, the second-highest midnight screenings total on record. Warner said that total came from 3,825 locations in North America, 330 of which were Imax theaters. ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" set the record last summer, with $43.5 million in midnight ticket sales, according to Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Hollywood.com).

《黑暗骑士崛起》在上周五凌晨12点01分的公映中,票房收入达3060万美元,是有史以来午夜票房收入的次高纪录。华纳公司说这个收入是由北美3825家电影院贡献的,其中330家为Imax影院(据Hollywood.com的票房分析师保罗·德加拉比迪安[Paul Dergarabedian]介绍,《哈利波特与死亡圣器(下)》在去年暑期档创下纪录,午夜票房收入达4350万美元)。

As Warner executives determined what further steps they might take in response, it remained unclear whether the incident would ultimately change the public's reception of a film that has been one of the year's most anticipated.


Given the outsized performance of similar hero-fantasies around the world, it appeared virtually a foregone conclusion that the movie would make money, even if it gets caught up in the kind of debate that surrounded "The Matrix."

同类型的英雄-奇幻题材电影在全球都取得了惊人的佳绩,所以尽管《黑暗骑士》一剧陷入了当年《骇客帝国》(The Matrix)也曾面对的争议,但人们似乎仍旧认为,这部电影必然能够赚到钱。

That film, released by Warner in late March 1999, was associated by some with the Columbine school killings a few weeks later. But it went on to become an enormous hit, and spawned two similarly successful sequels.


With its vision of revolt and chaos in a disintegrating Gotham City, "The Dark Knight" has already inspired a sense of awe among some reviewers, who found in its nearly three hours a worthy conclusion to a three-film Batman cycle. Vigilantism and its moral quandaries are a theme of the film, which is rated PG-13 but trades heavily on violence.

《黑暗骑士》讲述的是在四分五裂的哥谭市(Gotham City)中发生的叛变与乱象,它让一些影评家心悦诚服,认为这部近三小时的电影足以为蝙蝠侠三部曲画上一个圆满的句号。这部电影定为PG-13级(13岁以下儿童宜在家长指导下观看),但充斥着大量暴力镜头,令影评家们在道德立场上感到左右为难。

Already, some fans had caused trouble in the film world by adding a sense of threat to their passion for the anticipated movie. The Rottentomatoes.com Web site, which compiles film criticism, disabled its reader comments on "The Dark Knight" reviews earlier this week, after a handful of negative reviews drew death threats.


Crowds were still lining up around the country on Friday to see "The Dark Knight Rises," which had been expected to take in about $190 million in domestic ticket sales by Monday morning. The film appears to remain on track for a strong weekend, even as the promotional campaign has been pulled back, partly because of strong advance ticket sales.


In Paris, workers removed a giant Batman mask that had been mounted on the front of a cinema along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where the screening was set to take place. Warner Brothers also canceled other promotional activities, including an interview with Marion Cotillard, the French actress who stars in the film, on the evening news bulletin of TF1, the most-watched television channel in France.

在巴黎香榭丽舍大街,一家电影院原本要举行《黑暗骑士》的首映礼,工人们爬上屋顶,摘下了一张巨大的蝙蝠侠面具。华纳兄弟还取消了其他推广活动,包括对该剧法国女演员玛丽昂·歌迪亚(Marion Cotillard)的专访,专访原本准备在法国收视率最高的电视频道TF1的晚间新闻中播出。

The Paris screening was one of four such premieres set for international markets. One of them took place on Wednesday in London, the same day as the world premiere in New York. The others are set for next week in Tokyo and Mexico City. Warner Bros. did not say immediately whether those would go ahead.


Historically, there have been remarkably few major incidents of movie-theater violence, given the vast number of attendees - about 1.3 billion tickets were sold in the United States last year. In 2010, one viewer stabbed another in the neck with a meat thermometer at a showing of "Shutter Island," in Lancaster, Calif., and a man shot himself to death a screening of "Watchmen" in Eugene, Ore., the year before.

从历史上来看,考虑到巨大的观影人数——去年美国卖出了约13亿张电影票,与电影院有关的大型暴力事件相比之下并不多见。2010年在加州兰开斯特市,播映《禁闭岛》(Shutter Island)时,一位观众用肉类温度计刺伤了另一位观众的颈部。而在2009年,一位俄勒冈州尤金市的观众在放映《守望者》(Watchmen)时开枪自尽。

But incidents have usually been isolated, contained and showed little or no relationship to what was showing on-screen.


Following the 9-11 terror attacks, exhibitors briefly flirted with the idea of banning backpacks in theaters. But the notion was largely dropped as unworkable, especially in New York City, where the many thousands of fans who do not drive cars often show up at the movies with a bulging bag.


A spokesman for 20th Century Fox said executives there were still assessing the incident. Earlier this year, Fox executives abruptly retitled a comedy, "The Watch," out of fear that its previous title, "Neighborhood Watch," would conjure associations with the Trayvon Martin killing. Speaking privately to avoid conflict with fellow executives, one Fox official said he now expected heightened security at theaters when "The Watch" opens next Friday.

20世纪福克斯(20th Century Fox)的一位发言人说,公司高管仍在权衡这起事件。在今年年初,福克斯的高管突兀地将喜剧《社区守望者》(Neighborhood Watch)更名为《守望者》(The Watch),因为他们担心原来的片名会让人联想到崔旺·马丁被杀案(Trayvon Martin,这名少年在购买糖果和冰茶后,遭到荷枪实弹的社区守望志愿者枪杀——译注)。由于担心自己的意见与其他高管相左,福克斯的一位管理层在匿名情况下表示,他希望《守望者》在周五公映时,电影院应采取更严格的安保措施。
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