"The Dark Knight Rises" surpassed the benchmark set by "The Avengers" in midnight screenings Friday night, racking up $30.6 million in 3,825 locations.
Warner Bros. said that Imax screenings of the film contributed $2.3 million to that total in 330 Imax locations. It is the second biggest late-night showing of all time.
The total is short of the record held by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," which earned a staggering $43.5 million in midnight shows on about 3,800 screens last year, on its way to a $169.2 million opening weekend. It just surpassed the $30.2 million earned by midnight showings of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" last November on 3,251 screens. The vampire romance sequel made $138.1 million in its debut weekend.
In May, Disney and Marvel's "The Avengers" took in $18.7 million from midnight shows, though at far fewer locations. The super-team film earned those numbers on 2,500 screens — with $1.3 million coming from 273 Imax screens — on its way to biggest opening weekend ever at $207.4 million.
It was a day of mixed emotions for Warner Bros., which has launched one of the biggest advertising campaigns in movies history, but now must contend with the aftermath of a massacre at a Colorado showing of the superhero sequel. That mass-shooting left 12 people dead and 38 injured and has led theater chains and police departments across the country to announce that they will increase security measures at screenings of the film.
As TheWrap reported, Warner Bros. is considering canceling screenings of the film. Should it proceed with its original rollout plan, "The Dark Knight Rises" will expand to 4,404 theaters across North America on Friday.
Though marred by the tragedy unfolding in the suburb of Aurora, Colo., Christopher Nolan's final film in his franchise enjoyed a massive opening haul.
"The Dark Knight Rises" late-night gross is also a franchise best. "The Dark Knight" earned $18.5 million at midnight back in 2008 and went on to a $158 million debut weekend.
"The Dark Knight Rises" stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Michael Caine. Taking place eight years after the events of the previous film, the finale finds Batman menaced by the brutish Bane and the slinky Catwoman.