In the wake of the Colorado shootings, "The Dark Knight Rises" took in $160.8 million in its opening weekend at the domestic box office.
That's the best debut ever for a 2D movie and the third best for any movie, but projections from industry analysts before its opening had the Warner Bros. film going as high as $195 million. Friday's massacre at a midnight cineplex screening of the film in Aurora, Colo., in which 12 were killed and 58 injured, clearly chilled moviegoers' enthusiasm.
Overseas, "Dark Knight Rises" brought in $88 million from 17 markets, giving the film a worldwide total of $249 million for the weekend.
While not record-breaking, the box office numbers are high enough that the studio can be relatively confident "Dark Knight Rises" will meet or come near its long-term projections -- provided its stays strong in the U.S. and meets expectations at the foreign box office.
The top foreign market was the U.K. with $22.5 million. It also made $15.7 million in South Korea, $15.5 million in Australia and $4.8 million on foreign Imax screens.
Warners plans to expand the film into 40 more territories this week, bringing its screen total to around 17,000.
The final film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy had been expected to challenge Disney and Marvel's "The Avengers," which bowed to $207 million in May, for the biggest opening weekend ever. The second-best U.S. bow ever was posted last year by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" at $169 million.
Audience loved the movie, giving it an "A" CinemaScore. "The Dark Knight Rises" grosses came from 4,404 screens in the U.S. and Canada. That's the second-largest domestic rollout ever and includes a record 332 Imax screens. Those brought in $19 million over the weekend, an eye-popping $57,263 per-screen average.
After a $75.7 million Friday, swelled by $30.6 million from midnight screenings and heavy presales, it dropped to $44.9 million in grosses Saturday and $40.2 million Sunday.
The overall box office was soft. Last week's No. 1 film. Fox's "Ice Age: Continental Drift," fell 56 percent to $20.4 million. Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which made $34.6 million lst week, dropped to $10.8 million, a 68 percent drop. Universal's "Ted" was down 55 percent at $10 million and its "Savages" fell 64 percent to $3.3 million.
The numbers, normally sent out by the studios on Sunday morning, were released at 2 p.m. Monday, Warner Bros., rival studios and box office data firm Rentrak decided Friday to delay the report “out of respect for the victims and their families.”
The aftermath of the Aurora, Colo., shooting spree created an unprecedented scenario for Warners, theater owners and moviegoers. Law enforcement beefed up security at theaters across the nation. In Los Angeles, uniformed and undercover officers were on hand. AMC, one of the nation’s largest theater chains, banned face-covering masks and fake weapons.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment produced “The Dark Knight Rises” for an estimated $250 million. Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman star.