By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “The Dark Knight Rises” was on track to earn $160 million, which would be a record for 2-D films, over the weekend following a mass shooting at a Colorado screening of the Batman film.
Citing box office insiders, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other media outlets reported Sunday that the latest Batman sequel earned $160 to $162 million.
That amount would best the $158.4 million debut of “The Dark Knight” in 2008 and give “Dark Knight Rises” the third-highest domestic weekend opening ever after the 3-D films “The Avengers” with $207.4 million and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2″ with $169.2 million.
The Hollywood Reporter also cited box office sources who said “Dark Knight Rises” earned $70 million from nine of the 17 countries where it debuted over the weekend, including the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea and Spain.
Tickets for 3-D films cost a few more dollars than 2-D screenings, netting extra cash at the box office. Movies released in 3-D typically earn under half of their income in 3-D screenings, sometimes as little as a third.
Sony, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Lionsgate joined “Dark Knight Rises” distributor Warner Bros in publicly withholding their usual revenue reports out of respect for the victims and their families.
Box-office tracking service Rentrak also did not report figures following the Aurora, Colo., shootings that killed 12 and injured 58 at a midnight screening of the new Batman sequel on Friday.
“This tragedy did not seem to impact the box office in a major way,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for Hollywood.com who specializes in box office. “For this film to still be in the rarified air of the top-three openings of all time is phenomenal, given the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the release of this film.”
Dergarabedian noted that the box-office ranking of director Christopher Nolan’s final installment of his Batman trilogy would not be official until Warner Bros. and other studios release their final weekend box-office tallies Monday.