By Joe Flint, Ben Fritz and Meg James
LOS ANGELES -- Broadcast and cable channels across the country, including NBC, CBS and ESPN, scrambled Friday to remove advertising for "The Dark Knight Rises" following a shooting at a late-night screening of the film in Colorado.
The advertisements were being pulled from national and local programs on broadcast and cable stations, according to people familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly.
Early Friday morning, a gunman opened fire in a theater screening the latest Batman film, killing at least 12 and wounding 60, police and local media said.
Due to the sensitivity of the situation as the story dominated news coverage Friday morning, some networks were yanking advertisements for the film on their own accord, the sources said. In addition, representatives of "Dark Knight Rises" studio Warner Bros. contacted at least one network and asked it to take the step.
TV ads for "The Dark Knight Rises" feature numerous violent scenes from the movie, including Batman aiming an enormous gun almost directly at the camera.
In another ad, a character not seen on screen states, "These are violent criminals that terrorize Gotham."
Warner Bros. is one of the biggest advertisers in Hollywood, spending $738.9 million to promote its movies last year, according to Kantar Media.