"Dark Knight Rises", the last installment of director Christopher Nolan's epic big-budget trilogy, reportedly enjoyed more than $160 million in ticket sales over the weekend. As a result, the film is now considered to have the third highest-grossing debut ever, falling behind Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" and the last entry in the "Harry Potter" series. What's particularly cool about this feat is that it was accomplished without the assistance of 3D ticket prices, proving once again that movie-goers don't need expensive gimmicks to get them into theaters.
The previous entry in the series, 2008's "The Dark Knight", opened with $158 million in domestic ticket sales, which helped it to become one of the few films in existence to cross the $1 billion mark in worldwide sales. "Batman Begins", meanwhile, opened with almost $50 million when it arrived in theaters back in 2005.
Of course, the $160 million is considered an estimate, since Warner Bros. and other major Hollywood studios have not yet released box office figures in consideration of last week's shooting in Aurora, Colorado. According to the Los Angeles Times, these numbers come from anonymous industry insiders, and should not be considered fact until the company has confirmed the results. That being said, I'm sure the number isn't too far off the mark.
Despite the tragedy at the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises", people still turned out in droves to check out the flick. Kristina Hershey, manager of Entertainment Cinema in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, said attendance has been surprisingly brisk. "We've had a handful of customers ask if we're checking the emergency doors," she explained. "I don't think it's hindering a lot of people here from going to the movies."
Overseas, business has been good, as well. The film enjoyed $80 million in ticket sales from 17 foreign markets, including the United Kingdom, Spain, and Australia. Next week, the movie will expand to 57 different territories, though Italy and China will have to wait a little longer for their opportunity to screen Batman's latest adventure.
Paul Glantz, the chairman of Emagine Entertainment, seemed to think that most customers believe the Colorado shooting to be an isolated incident. "I think there was a perception among our guests that they weren't going to allow the horrific act of one deranged individual stop them from living their lives."