‘The Dark Knight Rises’ sales below forecasts after shooting

People grieve at a memorial for victims behind the Colorado theater. (PHOTO REUTERS)

July 23, 2012, Monday/ 18:00:00

“The Dark Knight Rises” recorded strong ticket sales in its opening weekend, but well below forecasts given by many in Hollywood, as some moviegoers appeared to have stayed away after a shooting rampage at a midnight showing of the film on Friday.

The film grossed an estimated $162 million in showings through Sunday in US and Canadian movie theaters, according to studio estimates from people with knowledge of the data. That was lower than the $173 million that had been projected on Saturday based on Friday receipts.

“The Dark Knight Rises” was one of the most-anticipated films of the year before a gunman opened fire on moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado, early Friday, killing 12 and wounding 58 more. Before the shooting, box office forecasters had predicted sales in a range of $170 million to $198 million from Friday through Sunday, just shy of the record $207 million set by superhero movie “The Avengers” in May.

A spokeswoman for Warner Brothers, which produced “Dark Knight,” had no comment. Fox’s animated family movie “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” which grossed $44.6 million last week and was the top-selling film, had a larger-than-anticipated 51 percent drop for its second week. It grossed $21 million, box office sources said. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which opened with near-record sales on July 3, collected $10.5 million over the weekend. The film, produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment, had passed $217 million in domestic sales on Thursday, according to Box Office Mojo.

Universal Pictures’ raucous comedy “Ted,” about a man and his foul-mouthed teddy bear, notched $10.1 million at the box office. Disney’s animated film “Brave” grossed $5.8 million. Official figures were not released by movie studios for the first time box office watchers could remember, as the companies withheld weekend results in deference for the shooting victims. Full results are expected on Monday.

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