Moviemaker Christopher Nolan has broken his silence following the midnight massacre at the screening of his new film The Dark Knight Rises.
Devastated by the news that 12 Batman fans lost their lives in the cinema shoot-out in Aurora, Colorado early on Friday morning (20Jul12), the director has released a statement, condemning gunman James Holmes' "savage" act.
He writes, "Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.
"I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there... to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime.
"The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.
"Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families."
As the story unfolded on Friday, police insiders revealed Holmes, who had dyed his hair red, told officials he was The Joker - the character played by the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight - and he had booby trapped his apartment nearby to hamper search efforts to uncover a motive for his sick act and possible accomplices.
Warner Bros. bosses cancelled Friday night's (20Jul12) Paris premiere of the film following the tragedy and released a statement offering their sympathy to the families of the victims.
The movie executives are also working to edit all footage of guns from trailers for The Dark Knight Rises and they've pulled promotional teasers for Gangster Squad, which were due to screen before the film this weekend, because they feature a scene in which mobsters open fire in a movie theatre.
Meanwhile, TV bosses at NBC, ABC and other leading networks have pulled all ads for The Dark Knight Rises - because they felt it would be inappropriate to run them alongside news coverage of the cinema massacre.