LOS ANGELES — The mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater on Friday dented ticket sales for “The Dark Knight Rises,” but not by much: The film, which is the culmination of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, took in about $162 million over the weekend in North America.
Still, the highly anticipated “Dark Knight Rises” managed to score one of the best opening weekends at the box office. “Marvel’s The Avengers” took in $207.4 million over its first three days, and the last "Harry Potter" opened with $169.2 million in ticket sales.
Hollywood was publicly silent about box-office results on Sunday; studios, citing respect for the 12 people killed on Friday at a midnight viewing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” declined to report totals. “Putting an emphasis on grosses at this time just doesn’t feel appropriate,” said Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com.
But the money at stake was too big for moviedom to ignore. Industry officials with access to box-office data privately spent the weekend marveling at the ability of “The Dark Knight Rises” to maintain much of its momentum in the wake of the killings. The movie’s distributor, Warner Brothers, did have the benefit of strong advance ticket sales; many shows for Friday night sold out long before the killings, and there were reports of ticket scalpers, a rarity for the movies.
“The Dark Knight Rises” also benefited from a bit of luck — well-behaved patrons and sensible theater managers. After the shootings, studio executives were concerned about potential copycats or overly sensitive theater managers evacuating auditoriums and prompting media coverage. Security was increased dramatically at many theaters, and there appeared to be no major incidents.
Warner officials had no comment on Sunday. The studio and its production and financing partner, Legendary Entertainment, spent an estimated $250 million to make “The Dark Knight Rises,” with marketing costs pushing the total cost of this PG-13 movie over $400 million.