The Dark Knight Rises opened with an estimated m worldwide at the weekend, the highest ever take for a 2D movie at the box office. However, figures were expected to be slightly down on the m predicted by experts, in the wake of the shootings at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, in the early hours of Friday morning.
Warner Bros and other Hollywood studios showed their respect by refusing to report official figures over the weekend, but trade bibles Variety and the Hollywood Reporter both cited the m figure. If confirmed, it places Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film north of the m taken by predecessor The Dark Knight in 2008, the previous 2D record. Films screened in 3D traditionally attract a higher premium, and The Dark Knight Rises may struggle to surpass comic book rival The Avengers as the highest-grossing film of the year following Nolan’s decision not to utilise the format. The latter currently stands as the third highest-grossing movie of all time with a bn haul.
James Holmes, 24, who is alleged to have killed 12 people attending a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in the US city of Aurora on Friday, will make his first appearance in court today.
US and Canadian cinema owners tightened security over the weekend as police patrolled multiplexes across north America. The AMC chain was among those that banned masks and costumes from screenings of The Dark Knight Rises. Meanwhile, squad cars were seen outside cinemas in Youngstown in Ohio, Portland in Oregon and the Chicago suburbs. Variety reported that one man in Phoenix, Arizona, smuggled his own gun into an auditorium out of apparent concern for his own safety.
Police were keen to point out that cars were being stationed outside sites as a precaution, rather than due to any expectation of copycat killings. “We have no known threat, but for public safety, public perception, we want people to know it’s safe to come to the theatres,” Buffalo police commissioner Daniel Derenda told the city’s WIVB-TV.
Following the cancellation of Friday’s Paris premiere as a direct result of the Aurora killings, director Nolan and star Christian Bale both offered condolences to the families of the dead. “Words cannot express the horror that I feel,” Bale said in a statement. “I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.” Nolan said: “Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
The fallout for studios continued as Warner was forced to reshoot scenes from its upcoming period crime thriller Gangster Squad, a trailer for which had been due to screen with The Dark Knight Rises in many countries. The online version of the promo features a segment in which gunmen fire at filmgoers in a cinema from behind the screen, with the audience seen scurrying to safety. Warner moved quickly to withdraw the trailer from cinemas, though there were suggestions that it screened in advance of The Dark Knight Rises in Australia.
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