Just like a superhero, Batman and “Dark Knight Rises” rallied for a knockout Saturday and turned what looked like a bleak box-office weekend into a $64 million victory.
The movie added another $122.1 million from 17,000 locations in 57 overseas markets, upping its international gross to $248.2 million. The worldwide gross after two weeks is $537 million for "Dark Knight Rises."
After a lower-than-expected $18 million Batman haul and lackluster overall numbers on Friday, the first domestic box-office weekend following the Colorado shootings appeared undercut by the tragedy’s fallout and the start of the Olympics. "Dark Knight Rises" was on pace to miss industry projections and the weekend was tracking as much as 30 percent behind the same time frame last year.
But the final entry in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy turned the tide with a muscular $25 million Saturday, and things picked up for some of the other movies, too, as Saturday was up 28 percent from Friday.
"Ice Age: Continental Drift" was No. 2 at $13.4 million, beating out Fox's "The Watch," which took in just $13 million in a disappointing debut weekend. The weekend's other wide opener, Summit's "Step Up Revolution," finished fourth at $11.7 million.
Audiences for "The Watch" skewed 60 percent male and 59 percent were 25 years of age or older. They gave the film a "C+" CinemaScore.
The weekend is still off roughly 25 percent from last year's comparable frame, but the Saturday comeback was taken as an encouraging sign of resiliency by some studio executives. And it suggests the Friday hiccup may have had as much to do with the opening ceremony of the Olympics in London as moviegoers’ reluctance to return to the theaters.
The studios went into the weekend concerned. They received data from research firm NRG late in the week that said between 20 percent and 25 percent of moviegoers said they were hesitant to return to theaters in the wake of the Colorado movie shootings in which 13 have died and 57 were injured.
Sony had something to celebrate Sunday, as the studio crossed the $1 billion mark in domestic box office receipts over the weekend, the 11th consecutive year it has done so. "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men in Black 3' led the way, but the studio has had four other No. 1 movies in 2012: "The Vow," "21 Jumpstreet," "Think Like A Man" and "Underworld 4 The Awakening."
The studio still has the next James Bond adventure "Skyfall," "Total Recall" and "Sparkle" coming up, among others.
"Dark Knight Rises" had a production budget estimated at $280 million. The film stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman.