By now, you’ve heard about the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, leaving 12 dead and 58 hurt. As soon as the crisis news broke, WB had to show respect for the victims and work tirelessly to help them.
Some tweets asked how soon a journalist would be covering the financial loss, but instead the news largely covered Warner Bros.’ efforts to show respect for the situation. Here’s what WB did:
- Cancelled a premiere in Paris of the film (The Huffington Post)
- Posted a statement to Facebook (The Huffington Post)
- Donated to a fund helping victims and relatives (CNN)
- Pulled a trailer for the film “Gangster Squad” that included a movie theater shooting scene and cut that scene entirely (Moviefone) and postponed it to 2013 (Mashable)
- Did not release the opening weekend’s debut financial numbers right away (The Huffington Post)
Christian Bale, who played Batman, made a visit to an Aurora hospital and visited victims, according to ABC News.
A crisis that the studio had no part in suddenly became WB’s problem. It responded in the right way: donating money, showing respect, and helping the victims and relatives. If WB had gotten their PR wrong, they could have been labeled insensitive, callous and uncaring. Instead, WB has gotten favorable press in how it’s dealt with the crisis.
WB hasn’t had to worry about the film’s finances, considering it made over $160 million on opening weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times. This has given it ample time and opportunity to focus on what’s right: responding correctly with the best PR WB can muster. It was imperative that they get it right, and they delivered.