One of the biggest weekends ever at the domestic box office came and went without celebration.
Though the weekend numbers for the opening of Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises” were eagerly anticipated, the other studios followed WB’s lead in not reporting numbers, out of respect for the victims of the July 20 shooting. Exhibitors also showed discreet solidarity, acknowledging their security concerns, but were downplaying the glowing results.
And despite heavy media coverage of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, it is a measure of the national mood and the fact that moviegoers seemed mostly unfazed, because indications are that “TDKR” collected north of $160 million. Revised figures will be reported Monday, but if the estimates hold up, this would be the biggest 2D opening of a film ever, beating the $158 million for “The Dark Knight” in 2008.
“Dark Knight Rises” originally was pegged to hit at around $175 million through Sunday. The film’s estimated $75 million Friday gross may have been a more modest-than-expected springboard for the pic – if only slightly. Bizzers estimate that “TDKR” fell 39% from Friday to Saturday, an expected drop given the film’s $30.6 million midnight gross. By comparison, “The Dark Knight” fell 30%, but had a smaller midnight benchmark, at $18.4 million.
It’s impossible to quantify exactly what sort of impact Friday’s event had on the box office. Still, the shooting was a major blow to the sanctity of the moviegoing experience.