Movie studios and television programmers postponed screenings and alerted viewers to violent content after a shooting left 20 children and six adults dead in a Connecticut elementary school last week.
Viacom Inc.’s Paramount studio postponed the Pittsburgh premiere of “Jack Reacher,” a crime drama based on the Lee Child novels starring Tom Cruise, to Dec. 19. It was set for Dec. 15, the day after the murders. Separately, CBS Corp.’s Showtime aired warnings before two violent shows last night.
The killings by a single gunman armed with two handguns and a semi-automatic rifle have reignited debate over the need for gun control and violence in Hollywood’s movies. President Barack Obama said he would “use whatever power this office holds” to prevent further tragedies.
“Due to the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and out of honor and respect for the families of the victims whose lives were senselessly taken, we are postponing tomorrow’s Pittsburgh premiere of ‘Jack Reacher,’” Paramount said in an e-mailed statement on Dec. 14. “Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones.”
The film opens Dec. 21 as planned, according to the studio. Cruise will travel to Pittsburgh to screen the movie for fans in the city where it was filmed, Paramount said, adding there will be no red carpet.
Weinstein Co. canceled its premiere for “Django Unchained,” scheduled for tomorrow night in Los Angeles, the studio said in an e-mailed statement.
The film, from director Quentin Tarantino, opens on Dec. 25. The studio will hold a private screening for cast, crew and their families tomorrow in lieu of a premiere, according to the statement. The R-rated picture features Jamie Foxx as a former slave who becomes a bounty hunter.
Showtime also acknowledged the Connecticut killings, the second-most fatal mass shooting in the U.S., before the season finales last night of “Dexter,” a show about a serial killer, and “Homeland,” an Emmy-winning show about domestic terrorism.
“In light of the tragedy that has occurred in Connecticut, the following program contains images that may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised,” the network’s on-screen message read before each show.
“Dexter” drew the highest rating ever for a Showtime original show, with 3.43 million viewers for the night, the network said today in an e-mailed statement. “Homeland” drew the largest audience of its two seasons, a total of 2.7 million viewers, Showtime said.
Discovery Communications Inc. said it had canceled “American Guns,” a reality-based serial about a family of gunmakers, before the Connecticut shootings, contradicting an earlier Fox News report.