By Brian Fuson | Thompson on Hollywood July 20, 2012 at 2:44PM
With 3,825 midnight shows, Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises” racked up an impressive $30.64 million – topping the $18.7 million of Disney’s “The Avengers” and marking the second-highest gross from midnight shows on a film debut in history.
Only Warner Bros.’ franchise finale “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” grossed more with an outstanding $43.5 million during July of last year. Summit’s “The Twilight Safa: Breaking Dawn, Part 1” and “The Twilight Saga; Eclipse” have the third and fourth-biggest midnight shows ever, with $30.25 million and $30 million, respectively.
But the elation over the stellar box office opening for the latest “Batman” film was marred by tragic events that took place at one screening in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and more injured. A lone gunman wearing a bulletproof vest broke in through the emergency door at a theater in the suburban mall, threw into the theater a tear gas canister or smoke bomb and began shooting into the crowd.
It’s unclear how much of an impact this horrific event may have on the weekend gross of “The Dark Knight Rises,” or on all filmgoing this weekend.
“Dark Knight Rises” opens in 4,404 theaters in North America today, with 332 IMAX screens-- an hour of the film was shot in the IMAX format. A solid $2.3 million of the midnight gross came from IMAX theaters.
Fandango reported yesterday that “Dark Knight Rises” was outpacing “The Avengers” in ticket sales at the same point in the sales cycle. Christopher Nolan's final chapter of the trilogy sold out more than 2,000 showtimes nationwide and is on track to become one of Fandango’s top-selling movies of all time. Sales for “Dark Knight Rises” accounted for 91% of daily ticket sales.
Midnight shows from 2008’s “The Dark Knight” grossed $18.5 million and that film’s first day tally, including midnight shows was $67.2 million. “Dark Knight Rises” is already nearly half way there from the midnight shows alone.
Industry observers project that “Dark Knight Rises” will gross around $190 million this weekend, and that the film has a shot at topping the $207.4 million all-time record of “The Avengers.” But all of that was before the tragic event in Colorado. The previous “Batman” film, “The Dark Knight,” had an opening weekend of $158.4 million.
Meanwhile, China has cleared "Dark Knight" to show in cinemas, but it may open opposite Sony tentpole "The Amazing Spider-Man."