The Dark Knight Rises opened to an impressive $160.9 million, earning the title of #1 opener for a 2D film. The last installment of the Batman trilogy helmed by Christopher Nolan is also the third-biggest debut in domestic box office history.
The film’s box office stats don’t quite reach the record set by The Avengers back in May (the Marvel tentpole took $207 million in its domestic debut). But The Dark Knight Rises sits just behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (another Warner Bros. opening at $169.2) and box office analysts believe that overwhelmingly positive reviews could put Nolan’s pic back on top of the charts in the weeks ahead.
The Dark Knight Rises just barely edged out its predecessor, The Dark Knight, which sits comfortably at number four with its $158.4 million take back in 2008. Fans and critics look forward to seeing Nolan cross the billion-dollar mark once again (The Dark Knight grossed just over a billion dollars worldwide).
In the wake of Friday’s theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., Warner Bros. opted to hold off on reporting the film’s opening grosses; other studios followed suit. And while the shooting did take its toll, The Dark Knight Rises was less impacted by the tragedy than analysts might have expected. Even conservative predictions before the shooting had the film aimed at 3-day weekend totals in the neighborhood of $170-180 million. Considering the magnitude of the incident at that fateful midnight showing, Hollywood is relieved to see that Batman prevailed.
Box office observers say that despite its connection with the shooting, The Dark Knight Rises’ theater traffic was not as affected as movies on the family side. Ice Age: Continental Drift saw a drop in its second week that was bigger than usual, falling 56% from its opening weekend to a $20.4 million cume.