Mixed feelings for Batman fans at Paris premiere

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Parisians turned out for France's first public screening of the latest Batman film on Saturday in subdued mood, a day after a deadly shooting spree at a US opening of the film.

"We won't be able to stop ourselves from thinking about the massacre," said actor Damien Dufour, 21, and a Batman fan since childhood.

"We know it happened 20 to 30 minutes after the start of the movie, so we'll feel a twinge of regret at that moment," said Dufour, clad in a black-and-yellow tee-shirt carrying the famous bat logo.

Management of the Grand Rex cinema in the city centre decided to go ahead with the special screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" despite the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12 people and wounded dozens more.

A screening that had been scheduled for Friday in another Paris cinema was scrapped because of the shootings.

And quite a few of those who had managed to get hold of one of the 2,700 tickets for this Saturday screening stayed away: cinema staff were selling off their places as the queues moved into the cinema.

Also missing from the event were Batman actors Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman, after movie producers Warner Brothers cancelled the cast's scheduled appearance.

The Saturday night customers were mainly 20- to 30 year-olds, some dressed as superheroes -- just like the audience in Denver.

Some of those queueing admitted the event would inevitably be more subdued than was usual at such screenings.

"Obviously, the atmosphere will be a little less special, but we really wanted to see the movie," said 25-year-old student nurse Adrien.

Others admitted they had hesitated before deciding to attend.

"We thought of the shooting a little before coming but I don't believe for a second that what happened in the United States could happen here," said 25-year-old Julien.

The national release of the movie, the third and last in the Batman series, in France is set for Wednesday.

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