Moviegoers took a moment out of their
time Tuesday night as they gathered together for a candlelight vigil at the
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre as a show of support for the victims and survivors of
the Century 16 Theaters Massacre in Aurora, Colo. On July 20, a lone gunman opened fire on an
unsuspecting audience during a packed midnight showing of the highly anticipated
Dark Knight Rises, the third movie in
the new Batman trilogy directed by
Christopher Nolan, and distributed by Warner Bros.
The Los Angeles vigil was sponsored
by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and held at the famed Marilyn Monroe Fountain in
the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre forecourt.
Only the candlelight of mourners
illuminated the forecourt when the lights of the theatre façade went dark for a
60 second moment of silence as a gesture of solidarity, and a symbol of
The mass murder that took the lives
of twelve people and left fifty-eight others injured left the nation stunned,
as the magnitude of such an act as this was fully realized.
Many were affected directly, including
the victims in the theater, the loved ones of the victims, first responders,
law enforcement, medical personnel, and the Century 16 Theaters. In fact, the movie industry as a whole
suffered the affects of this tragedy as the livelihoods of many depend on box
office success, especially when the project in the forefront had a $250 million
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is home to
no fewer than forty red carpet premiers, and was a symbolic location for movie
lovers to gather together and proclaim that the horrific act of one cannot
deter the creativity and life the cinematic industry offers.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Director of
Operations Alwyn Hight Kushner couldn’t stand comfortably in Hollywood and do
nothing. She said, “I feel like there
are no words to describe this unbearably savage tragedy. We want to show our love, and solidarity with
the people of Colorado.”
Warner Bros. anticipated great
success with the release of Dark Knight
Rises, and depended on record-breaking box office numbers for the weekend
opening. But, as a show of respect for
the victims, they delayed the Batman box office reports. Soon, Sony, Disney, Fox, Lionsgate and
Universal announced that they would join Warner Bros. in withholding weekend
numbers as well
This, at a time when movie attendance
is at its lowest since 1995, due in part to the family entertainment dollar
being stretched to its limit, leaving Americans to spend their hard-earned cash
on other necessities like, say, rising gasoline prices.
Still, Warner Bros. willingly removed
their profits from the forefront of discussion, and not only canceled worldwide
premiers in Paris, Japan and Mexico, but they also gave an undisclosed amount
to the Denver, Colo. based GivingFirst.org fund which is set up to take donations
to help the families suddenly faced with insurmountable medical expenses after
being gunned down or injured in the chaos of the Century 16 Cinema massacre.
Likewise, donations were taken at Grauman’s
for the GivingFirst.org fund. Kushner
said, “This is something we can do.” She
said Grauman’s will continue to receive donations on site for the Colorado
Vigil attendees Peter Barrios, Jaime
Guzman, and Ron Lopez huddled together holding their candles, while quietly discussing
the senselessness of the Colo. tragedy.
Barrios started, “I’m glad we can get
together as a show of solidarity,” while Lopez finished, “All the way in LA, at
this iconic theatre.”
The mood was respectful, and
somber. Some foreign tourists were
uncertain as to why there was a gathering of people with lit candles. Once explained, they joined the vigil,
wanting to join the stand against such a heinous act.
Box-office numbers have since been
released, revealing Dark Night Rises
as grossing $162 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to Reuters, not
quite making the projected $170 - $198 million producers were anticipating
prior to the shooting, but still bringing in an impressive third-highest
domestic 2-D debut, proving that the movie industry will rise above the
senseless acts of a madman.
To make a donation to help offset the
burden of the medical expenses faced by the victims, you can go to www.GivingFirst.org, or you can go to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where they
are accepting donations on site.