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'Django Unchained' Premiere Cancelled After Shootings & Quentin Tarantino’s Comment Is Awful

by Linda Sharps on December 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Django UnchainedIt's hard to know what sort of approach to take with entertainment events in the face of a national tragedy. Do you acknowledge it? Ignore it? Should the show always go on? In the case of Quentin Tarantino's uber-violent Django Unchained, I think the studio made a very smart decision by canceling the movie's star-studded red carpet premiere that was planned for Tuesday.

While the film's splashy LA premiere has been downgraded to a private event with no media coverage, some are still criticizing the film's planned release date: Django Unchained is set to hit theaters on Christmas Day.

Not only that, but there's controversy behind the scenes, with the movie's star and director at public odds over the role violent movies play in events like the school shooting in Newtown last week.

Jamie Foxx, who stars in the film, spoke out this weekend about his concern over violence in entertainment content:

We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn't have a sort of influence. It does.

Quentin Tarantino, as you might imagine, had a slightly different take:

I just think you know there's violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers. It's a western. Give me a break.

Whoever you side with in this particular debate, it seems like canceling the glitzy premiere was the best move the studio could have made. A big Hollywood event glorifying a movie chock-full of gun violence ... it's just not the right time.

The studio behind Tom Cruise's upcoming movie Jack Reacher (which reportedly opens with a sniper shooting several people) must've reached the same conclusion, because they also scaled back their premiere plans, out of what Paramount described as "honor and respect for the families of the victims."

The show does go on, obviously, and the entertainment industry has reacted in ways that have been both extremely classy (the Saturday Night Live "Silent Night" cold open) and extremely awkward (Survivor's brief moment of silence for the Newtown victims before the reunion show, which made everything about the idea of contestants "surviving" a month on a game show seem petty and ridiculous).

For movies and shows that include a lot of gun violence, some may say they should be cancelled altogether. My feeling is that's unrealistic, but canceling the planned premieres -- those events intended to drum up publicity and boost audience numbers -- was the right choice.

As for Mr. Tarantino, well, I've always been a fan of his films ... but maybe he should go ahead and shut his toe-licker shut for a little while. "Give me a break," indeed.

What do you think about Quentin Tarantino's comment? Did it come across as insensitive, or is he just stating the obvious?

Image via The Weinstein Company

Filed Under: movies


  • lulou


    December 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I think great art moves people.  If Tarantino believes he is a great director and that his films are more of an art versus entertainment, its an appropriate debate to have.

    Besides the terrible timing, for example when airline commercials arent aired right after a crash. I think I learned that on MadMen.

  • Doomy234


    December 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM
    I concur with Tarantino. Its just a movie. Sure its got guns and shooting, but it is a MOVIE. If you're so sensitive to it, dont watch it.
    One of my husbands favorite shows American Guns was cancelled because the tragedy. So I guess as a nation were just going to pretend that guns dont exist? I understand being upset, but I think this is just ridiculous. Movies and games are already labeled for what kind of contents they contain, if it offends you dont watch it, or play them. And I think the media portays just as much if not more violence than Hollywood does. So we punish the fantasy -makers because we cant handle reality.
  • Caera


    December 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I agree with Tarantino, though he could've been a little more tactful.

  • Jana-...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Jana-Marie Wells

    December 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    "shut his toe-licker shut" ?

  • IKnow...


    December 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I applaud the studios and others for being sensitive to tragedy.  However at the end of the day if you can't handle watching movies or reading books that includes violent content you shouldn't expose yourself and definitely children to it. I know I don't.  Regardless of all this people make to many excuses of why people commit these horrible crimes.  They weren't on the bottle long enough, parents didn't use organic fruits, their parents got divorce, etc.  I'm tired of excuses.

  • Mama2...


    December 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I agree withTarantino, and I think his tone was appropriate. The problem is that when these tragedies happen, we try to look for scapegoats - movies, tv, video games - instead of examining the roots of the problem: Availability of completely unecessary weapons to the general public, extreme lack of availability of affordable mental health care.

    But, see, if we focused on the actual problems, that would be silly. So we blame instead.

  • early...


    December 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM
    Agree with Tarantino. Sorry if its insensitive
  • PRIMA487


    December 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
    @Jana-Marie:He has a foot fetish thing;likes licking toes.
  • dirti...


    December 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    i agree with tarantino. what i find kind of ironically funny is that when the movie was first announced, everyone was worried about the cast dropping the n-bomb over a thousand times and now it's shifted to 'oh no, gun violence!' because that's what happened in our world. the a-hole from CT has *nothing* to do with this movie, and while i can understand scaling back out of respect, i feel it's unnecessary. to me, a classier move would have been to continue the premier, but to have some fund raiser tied into it and donate that money to the community, or to mental health services.

  • Lisa...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Lisa Topper Baker

    December 18, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I think that we all would agree, no matter what your opinion is on owning guns, that something has to be done. The problem is, what is that "something"? Sure, it's too drastic and unrealistic to just ban them completely, but again, there is a big problem here, and as a nation, we NEED to figure out the right steps to make in order to work towards a solution. So those of you who are saying that scaling down a premier is unnecessary, or just don't watch it if it offends you, can you also make suggestions in order t move things forward instead of remaining stuck in this vicious cycle? The people who have made decisions to scale back premiers and remove shows from TV have made some decisions. Right or wrong is debatable, but they have at least taken some sort of action. Maybe if more people did the same, instead of just complaining about it all, we might make some progress here.

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