After a fatal mass shooting early Friday left 12 dead and 40 wounded in suburban Denver at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, promotional activities for the film in France have been suspended. The red carpet will not roll out Friday evening on the Champs-Élysées, where the latest installment in the Batman franchise was due to premiere in Paris.
Warner Bros., the studio behind the movie, quickly canceled a press junket scheduled for Friday morning at the luxury Bristol hotel, steps from the Élysée Palace—even while cast members prepared for interview sessions and dozens of film critics waited their turn—as word spread of the multiplex massacre some 5,000 miles away. The Colorado killings took place shortly before 9 a.m. Paris time. The film, featuring France’s own Marion Cotillard, among other cast members, is due to open on 900 French screens Wednesday.
On an otherwise quiet summer Friday in France, coverage of the killings has dominated the media, heading top news sites throughout the day and leading 24-hour-news-channel loops. In the afternoon a crew was shown dismantling the premiere setup on the vast sidewalk in front of the Gaumont Champs-Élysées Marignan cinema.
The TF1 TV network told Agence France-Presse that a late-morning taping of interviews with Cotillard and Morgan Freeman, scheduled to appear on the national 8 p.m. newscast just as the premiere was scheduled to begin, had also been canceled. Fellow stars Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway and director Christopher Nolan, all expected this evening on the “most beautiful avenue in the world” for the superhero blockbuster’s French debut, were also reportedly waiting in the wings at the Bristol as reporters were asked to leave.
“We waited an hour and 45 minutes,” Sophie Grassin, a film critic for Le Nouvel Observateur present at the Bristol, told the French weekly’s website.
“Then, around 11:30 a.m., we saw Marion Cotillard arrive, made up, well dressed. The Warner folks led her into a room where they evidently told her the terrible news. The Warner team was in tears.”
Visiting the Tour de France on Friday, French President François Hollande said in a statement: “The President of the Republic has learned with very deep emotion of the shooting in a cinéma near Denver which, according to estimates that remain provisional, cost the lives of 12 people and injured about 40. He understands how much this drama deeply upsets America’s youth and bereaves all of America. In these tragic circumstances, he would like to impart all of his solidarity to American authorities and to the American people and to express, in the name of France, his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.”