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July 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Citing unnamed sources, both Hollywood trade publications, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, as well as the Los Angeles Times, said on their websites late Sunday that Warner Bros. is estimating that The Dark Knight Rises opened with about $162 million over the weekend. Officially, the studio said that out of respect to the victims of the Aurora, CO shooting and their families it would withhold box office figures until later today (Monday). If the figure is confirmed it would put the film just ahead of the $158 million that 2008’s The Dark Knight earned in its debut. That would put it behind The Avengers and the Harry Potter finale in gross ticket sales but ahead of it in actual admissions given the fact that it carried no 3D surcharges. All major and independent studios joined Warner Bros. in withholding weekend estimates. 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 mornings, 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 estimate in any case. 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 most 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. Before the shooting, some analysts figured that it had a decent shot at surpassing the $207.4 million that The Avengers earned on its opening weekend in May. Nevertheless, many theaters were sold out virtually around the clock. “Attendance has been staggering,” Kristina Hershey, the manager of Entertainment Cinema in South Kingstown, R.I., told the L.A. Times. “We’ve had a handful of customers ask if we’re checking the emergency doors…. [But] I don’t think [the shooting is] hindering a lot of people here from going to the movies.”