SNL Kagan Attributes Last Week's 7.5% Box Office Drop to Colorado Shootings

Research shows moviegoers still skittish about going to the movies after Colorado massacre at a midnight show of "The Dark Knight Rises"

It may seem self-evident, but SNL Kagan is rolling out the numbers to demonstrate that the mass-killing in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater last week had a chilling effect on the box office.

Overall, the box office slipped 7.5 percent last week to  $314.6 million compared to $340.0 million during the same week in 2011. This drop was unusual given that last weekend also saw the release of "The Dark Knight Rises," the highly anticipated finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Conventional wisdom is that a monster movie usually has a spill-over impact on other films at the multiplexes.

Instead many of the other big films in the box office top ten experienced steep drop-offs from the previous week — among them "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (-56 percent), "The Amazing Spider-Man"(-69 percent) and "Ted" (-55 percent). Though it still had a monster weekend, bringing in $160.9 million at the domestic box office, "The Dark Knight Rises" had a softer debut than some analysts had projected. Speculation prior to the shootings in Colorado had been that the Batman film could score an opening of $190 million. 

Given all this, SNL Kagan says the mass-shooting in Aurora that saw 12 people killed and 58 injured was a "likely factor" in the decline.

The bad news for Hollywood is that this weekend may not be much better. In a poll taken this week by research firm NRG, 20 percent of moviegoers said they were reluctant to go to the theater in the wake of the Colorado massacre.