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July 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

All major and independent studios have joined Warner Bros. in withholding weekend estimates in what they said was an effort to focus attention on the Aurora, CO shootings that occurred during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises early Friday. Veteran box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of said it was “the right way to honor the victims and their families.” Rentrak sent out its Weekend Estimates spreadsheet at its usual time on Sunday — but it was blank. Exhibitor Relations, which also posts weekend estimates on Sunday morning, posted a link to an Associated Press report headlined “Hollywood puts box office on mute after shootings.” Had the studios decided to do otherwise, it would have been difficult for them to provide a viable figure. Weekend estimates are generally based on actual receipts for Friday and Saturday and an educated guess for Sunday. But the shooting introduced an unprecedented element in their calculations. On the one hand, it put the movie in the headlines of virtually every newspaper and on the tongues of virtually every television news reporter throughout the weekend. On the other hand, with advertising for the film yanked by Warner Bros. and with concern among some that a copy-cat act might occur, many moviegoers may have decided to sit out the weekend and catch it when calm returns. None of all that, however, discouraged analysts from issuing their own estimates, with most figuring that the movie would wind up earning $150-170 million — well off the record $207.4 million earned by The Avengers in May. Before the shooting, some analysts figured that it had a decent shot at surpassing that number, despite the fact that it does not have 3D surcharges going for it. (It does benefit from IMAX surcharges, and several analysts suggest it may very well set a record at IMAX theaters.)