The tragic shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colo. bears an eerie resemblance to the subject matter of the film, The Dark Knight Rises, which features a villain in a gas mask like the one worn by the alleged suspect, and several scenes of public mayhem.
It's cast a pall over the release of the film, which was expected to be the biggest of the summer.
Warner Brothers, the studio that released The Dark Knight Rises, has already released a statement, saying the studio"is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time."
They also canceled the Paris red carpet premiere, where the director Christopher Nolan and stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman were scheduled to make media appearances.
The Los Angeles Times' film writer John Horn said he expects the studio to likewise cancel premieres in Mexico City and Tokyo.
Marketing materials for the film may also be changed: an ad reading, "The Dark Knight Rises will blow you away," and a billboard showing the villain, Bane, wearing a gas mask enveloped in smoke may be pulled.
Horn said the incident will likely scare many movie-goers away from what was expected to be the biggest grossing film of the season.
"This will be a huge problem for not only Warner Brothers, but for theaters," said Horn. "If you don't feel safe at the movies, you're not going to go to any movie."
John Horn writes about film for the Los Angeles Times.