Nikki Finke has never been interested in winning a popularity contest. Be that as it may, fellow journalists and many others are absolutely livid at her Deadline.com coverage of the Aurora, CO tragedy.
In an early morning update to her rolling post about TDKR box office returns, Finke wrote: “It is a very real possibility this terrifying tragedy may affect The Dark Knight Rises opening box office today and this weekend.” She may not have immediately realized at around 3 a.m. PT how offensively this would read, but she and-or her nighttime editor should have – upon review – understood the inherent crassness of such a comment and deleted. [Editor's note: As we were writing this item, that portion of the TDKR box office update appears to have been removed.]
Then there’s Finke’s second item this morning about being tipped and alerting Warner Bros. to the suddenly disastrous pairing with TDKR of a trailer for the upcoming Sean Penn period drama Gangster Squad. At the very end of the trailer, the bad guys shoot up a movie theater.
The starting point for this item is solid. Finke was alerted by moviegoers about the unfortunate juxtaposition and got in touch with Warner Bros. But she then messed it up by putting forth an illogical argument and taking personal credit for the imminent removal of the Gangster Squad trailer from theaters, while also seemingly forgetting that Deadline.com recently showcased the trailer. From this morning’s torrent of angry tweets, here are those of Film School Rejects’ Cole Abaius, filmmaker Craig Brewer (Footloose), Fandango/Movies.com editor Erik Davis and IGN journalists Jim Vevjoda and Eric Goldman:
*Update – 07/20/12: We had reached out to Finke for comment before publication and have now heard back. “Deadline is an entertainment business site,” she writes. “Of course it was important for Deadline to look at the box office ramifications of this tragedy. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t. I will continue looking at them all weekend.”
Finke also pointed us to a 9:30 a.m. PT update to her Gangster Squad item, which contains critical new information from a Warner Bros. spokesperson.