A man walks by a movie theater where "The Dark Knight Rises" is… (Jewel Samad/ AFP/GettyImages…)
All eyes were on “The Dark Knight Rises” in its opening weekend as it set out to challenge “The Avengers” box office record. But the tragic movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., brought added scrutiny to the Warner Bros. film.
On Friday, sources in Hollywood estimated that "The Dark Knight Rises" grossed about $70 million in the U.S. and Canada, making it the fifth highest Friday gross of all time. Based on that, sources estimated it will bring in $165 million to $170 million through Sunday. The figures are slightly below estimates projected for its opening based on pre-release surveys, which had it at $180 million to $200 million.
Official estimates are not available because Warner Bros., and other major Hollywood studios, decided not to issue weekend box office revenue numbers out of consideration for the victims and their families. Rentrak, the company that usually compiles studio box office estimates, also vowed not to report numbers this weekend.
The shootings in Colorado might be a factor in the adjusted estimate; there is debate as to whether the incident will alter movie-going behavior. Most ticket sales for this weekend screenings of the film were bought presale –that would keep the sale intact even if the buyers didn’t attend.
Should “The Dark Knight Rises” meet the reduced estimate, it would still be a big opening for Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to the Caped Crusader series, positioning it as either No. 2 or No. 3 of all time, not accounting for inflation. The modified amount would also still be considered a financial success for Warner Bros. Back in 2008, “The Dark Knight” grossed $158 million its opening weekend.
The true measure of the movie’s success is its international grosses, which have not been released.
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