Twenty percent to 25 percent of moviegoers are leery of going to theaters this weekend following the shootings last week in Aurora, Colorado, during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, a new survey finds.
The figures come courtesy of National Research Group (NRG), the division of Nielsen Media Research used by studios to track audience interest in upcoming releases. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Regal Entertainment Group CEO Amy Miles was quick to downplay the findings, telling Wall Street analysts on Thursday that, "I think it's a little premature for us to comment with respect to what impact we're seeing in the theaters."
But the trade paper notes audience hesitancy could pose a problem for Fox's R-rated comedy The Watch -- it's expected to open soft, in the $13 million to $15 million range -- and Summit Entertainment's 3D dance movie Step Up: Revolution, both of which premiere today.
Earlier this week, Summit removed TV promo spots that briefly showed dancers wearing gas masks and carrying canisters, but didn't remove the scene from the film. "Having taken these steps, Summit will open this inspirational, nonviolent film in theatres nationwide this weekend as originally edited," the studio said in a statement.