"The Dark Knight Rises," the final film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, already had an uphill box office battle since it was not offering higher-priced 3-D tickets. But the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., in Thursday midnight previews may have had a damper on what was supposed to be a big weekend.
The latest Batman film earned $160.9 million at the domestic box office, easily beating out "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "The Amazing Spider-Man."
The opening did out-pace the opening weekend of its predecessor, "The Dark Knight," which bowed with $158.4 million in 2008, and well ahead of "Batman Begins," which had a quiet opening of $48.7 million.
"Dark Knight Rises" falls short of the $207.4 million opening for "The Avengers," which had the help of premium tickets for 3-D showings. Nolan did not allow his film to be shot or converted to 3-D.
It's not quite clear what a second weekend will look like for "Dark Knight Rises." Observers believe that many people who had planned to see the film this weekend may have talked themselves out of it so soon after 12 people were killed and 58 were injured in a tragic shooting in Colorado. But as those scars begin to heal, it's possible that those fans will join other second-weekers and give "Dark Knight Rises" a strong second week.
Even with a smaller opening, "Dark Knight" in 2008 went on to gross $533.3 million domestically. "Dark Knight Rises" might be able to expect something similar, which should easily push it past this year's No. 2 film, "The Hunger Games," which has now reached $405.2 million. However, it likely will not provide much of a challenge to "Avengers," which has now grossed $615.1 million in North America, including another $620,000 this weekend.
"Dark Knight Rises" could surpass "Spider-Man" at the box office by its third week at this pace (that film earned $10.9 million this weekend and has pulled in $228.6 million overall, according to The Numbers.
On their way out of theaters, it looks like "Snow White & The Huntsman" is going to finish just shy of $155 million. "Prometheus" will finish with just a little more than $126 million. "Men In Black 3" will end its run just ahead of $175 million.
"Battleship" will finish with just a little more than $65 million.
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