Jul 23, 2012

How does Hollywood deal with real-life tragedy?

One day they're rolling out the red carpet, the next Warner Bros. was dealing with headlines asking if Batman had blood on his hands. How does Hollywood handle real-life tragedy?

Luke Buckmaster — Writer, Critic and The Daily Review Journalist

Luke Buckmaster

Writer, Critic and The Daily Review Journalist

An audience of cinema-goers in a packed evening screening nibble popcorn and swig soft drinks, watching the latest big-screen Hollywood spectacle before unthinkable violence sends the room into bedlam. Four men in trench coats, armed with submachine guns, stand behind the screen firing randomly into the crowd. As viewers clamber for the exits, the men hold onto their triggers and march forward in unison as a torrent of bullets tears the place apart.

That’s not a description of the tragedy that hit the Century 16 cinema complex in Aurora, Colorado, last Friday when 24-year-old James Holmes allegedly gunned down 12 people and wounded more than 50 on a shooting spree during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. It is a scene in the trailer for new film Gangster Squad, a 1940s-set mob drama starring Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling. The trailer was set to play “loose” (industry parlance to describe a distributor’s request to screen) at around 30% of cinemas showing the Batman movie over the weekend. It is not known whether the trailer played at Century 16.

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8 thoughts on “How does Hollywood deal with real-life tragedy?

  1. Mike Smith

    I’m kind of disgusted, but this will likely boost box office take.

  2. Bill Hilliger

    Remeber Columbine – God, Jesus, Bible, Christians, Born Again Christians, Pastors, Saviours, the NRA, a right to bear arms, inherent fear, guns and tragedy, prayer and on it goes until next time.

  3. AR

    “violence is as amerikan as cherry pie” said H Rap Brown on succeeding Stokely Carmichael and, although he was specifically referring to white on black oppression, it applies in general to a country so immersed in exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, religiosity, ignorance & arrogance feeding on filmed violence from the moment their eyes open, with sufficient power to project their pathologies all over the planet.

  4. nonscenic

    In a country where “Family Shooting Ranges” are perfectly normal it will take tragedies such as these to awaken a sense that something is wrong. The availability of guns is the disclosing solution that shows the plaque in society. America, and the cultures that follow it, really has an inbuilt culture of hatred for one another. When violent movies are “fun”, the demonic is lurking around.

  5. Mike Smith

    @AR – isn’t it apple pie?

  6. marcusb

    The USA is a foreign country (to me) with strange customs and an odd habit of equating freedom with weapon ownership. Don’t expect an event such as this to change the sociocultural landscape; past such incidents haven’t, so why should this one?

  7. AR

    MikeS – no, it was “cherry pie”, just another one of those misremembered things like “play it again Sam” or “you doity rat”. But because the more familiar phrase is “for mom & apple pie” it is now the norm.

  8. Johnfromplanetearth

    Perhaps Warner Bros. will reel in their Director’s dark vision of a superhero movie next time and ask him to steer clear of the dark side of a character and maybe instill a little fun in their next Batman epic?

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