Movie fans dressed in costume gather before a midnight showing of "Dark… (Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles…)
Law enforcement officials plan to continue an undercover presence in Los Angeles-area movie theaters through at least Sunday, as"The Dark Knight Rises"opened to a very strong $249 million worldwide.
There was only one reported incident this past weekend after police were posted in local theaters in an effort to reduce anxiety and prevent copycat crimes following Friday’s massacre at a showing of the third film in Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise in Colorado.
A man waiting for the superhero film to begin at an AMC theater in Norwalk was arrested Sunday after fellow patrons reported that he became agitated and said, "I should go off like in Colorado," sheriff's deputies said. He did not have a gun, they said, but was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats.
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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said "focused patrols," in which deputies paid special visits to theaters, would continue for the foreseeable future.
The news came asWarner Bros.confirmed Monday that "The Dark Knight Rises" grossed $160.9 million in the United States and Canada from Friday through Sunday and an additional $88 million overseas in the first 17 countries where it debuted.
For the first time in many years, most major studios did not release box-office estimates Sunday out of concern about appearing insensitive to the news that 12 people had been killed and 58 wounded early Friday at a post-midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" outside Denver.
Although Warner released the film's weekend grosses Monday, studio executives declined to discuss the figures.
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The $160.9-million take marks the third-highest domestic opening of all time, not accounting for inflation. But the domestic sum is only slightly higher than the $158-million opening of its Batman predecessor, 2008's "The Dark Knight," despite four years of rising ticket prices. That means fewer fans turned out to see the new film on its first weekend.
People who saw pre-release research had predicted the film would open with between $180 million and $200 million. It's impossible to know whether the shooting in the Colorado movie theater played a role in "The Dark Knight Rises" falling short of those expectations, but the film still had a strong debut that will probably make it very profitable forWarner Bros.and its partner, Legendary Pictures.
Overall, ticket sales were up roughly 21% this weekend compared with the same three-day period in 2011, when the No. 1 movie, "Captain America," debuted with $65.1 million, according to Hollywood.com.
However, a number of pictures that were already in theaters saw their receipts fall dramatically this weekend — most notably,"Ice Age: Continental Drift."After opening in the top position at the box office last weekend, the animated family film's sales tumbled 56%. 2009's"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"declined only 34% on its second weekend.
On its third weekend,"The Amazing Spider-Man"fell a sizable 56%, while after several weeks of small declines, the R-rated comedy"Ted"dropped 55%.
"I think the tragedy may have impacted other films more than 'The Dark Knight Rises,'" said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com. "People who were on the fence about going to the theater may have stayed home instead of seeing a movie that has been out for a few weeks."
The final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy also had a robust start overseas in just 17 markets. The movie had its biggest debut in the United Kingdom, followed by South Korea, Australia and Spain.
Next weekend, it will launch in an additional 40 foreign countries, including all of Latin America, and will probably have a much bigger international take than it did on its first weekend. However, Warner Bros.' cancellation of premieres in Paris, Tokyo and Mexico City, along with much of the associated publicity, could have a chilling effect on box office.
The Burbank studio also stopped buying new online ads for "The Dark Knight Rises" through Google over the weekend, according to a knowledgeable person not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
After receiving a grade of A on average from opening-night moviegoers, "The Dark Knight Rises" is poised for continued success in the U.S. and Canada. That said, the unprecedented nature of Friday's violent tragedy could affect some moviegoers' willingness to head to the multiplex in the coming weeks.
Late Monday, Warner announced that it had made a donation to a charity supporting victims of the Aurora, Colo., shooting. The studio did not disclose the amount of the donation.
Times staff writer Danielle Paquette contributed to this report.