Time Warner Pulls Some 'Dark Knight' TV Ads

Spot Slated To Run Sunday On Fox Is Pulled

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Time Warner 's Warner Brothers movie studio is contacting TV networks and asking that some ads for "The Dark Knight Rises" not run for the foreseeable future.

An ad for the Batman-themed film scheduled to run Sunday night on Fox has been pulled at the movie studio's request, according to a network spokesperson.

The Los Angeles Times previously reported that NBC, CBS and ESPN were among the broadcast and cable networks and TV stations that had been asked to take the movie ads off the air in the wake of a shooting of an early screening of the film at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. The Times said in some cases networks were taking the ads off the air of their own volition, while Warner Brothers had asked for the ads to come off the air in other situations.

An NBC spokeswoman could not be reached for immediate comment. ESPN declined to comment. CBS declined to comment. Executives at ABC and CW could not be reached for immediate comment

A spokeswoman for OMD, the Omincom Group agency that serves as Warner 's media buyer, referred a call for comment to the client. A Warner Brothers spokeswoman was not able to offer immediate comment.

The film was marked by tragedy after a gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater in Colorado early morning Friday, during the opening of "Dark Knight Rises," killing a dozen and injuring nearly 50 others. Warner issued a statement extending its sympathies to the victims and their families but hasn't publicly offered much detail on how the violence would shift its marketing strategy.

Whether the lack of advertising this weekend will hurt the film's initial box-office totals remains to be seen. "Dark Knight Rises" has already enjoyed the benefits of an extensive marketing campaign. Indeed, ads for the movie have been in continuous rotation on TV for several weeks. On Third Avenue in Manhattan, a bus-stop poster for the movie depicts Batman in a fighting stance and seemed unlikely to be removed immediately.

Though the Aurora shooting is an event no one could anticipate, it does leave Time Warner struggling once again to keep its super-hero properties competitive against those of Walt Disney-owned Marvel. That company recently launched "The Avengers" to great success.

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