The Dark Knight Rises scored a healthy $30.6 million at midnight screenings Friday, the second highest opening on record, according to studio estimates.
How the massacre at an Aurora, Colo., theater showing the film affects the rest of its commercial run is up in the air, analysts say.
“There’s a distinct possibility that the movie could get hurt, especially among families who were going to turn out,” says Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations, an industry ticket-tracking firm.
Bock says that the film’s violent tone may be too much for some audiences, especially those who keep up with current events.
“The movie is so dark, it could be hard for people to put their minds around this.”
Analysts predicted the film would take in $150 million this weekend. Many tickets were purchased online in advance of the opening. The following weeks will determine whether real life has overshadowed fantasy, says Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com.
“The interest was so high, the weekend was pretty much pre-bought,” Dergarabedian says. “But we’ve never had anything like this happen in a theater, so it’s impossible to say the effect.”
A spokesman for Warner Bros., the film’s distributor, said Friday there were no plans to remove the film from theaters.
The film is opening on 3,825 screens, included 330 IMAX screens.
The top 10 midnight openings, according to Hollywood.com:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, $43.5 million
The Dark Knight Rises, $30.6 million
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, $30.3 million
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, $30 million
The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $26.3 million
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, $24 million
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, $22.2 million
The Hunger Games, $19.7 million
The Avengers, $18.7 million
The Dark Knight, $18.5 million
Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, $16.9 million
Source: USA Today