After remaining silent all weekend following Friday's massacre in Aurora, Colo., Warner Bros. confirmed Monday that"The Dark Knight Rises"debuted with $249 million in worldwide ticket sales.
The high-profile movie took in $160.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $88 million overseas.
That marks the third-highest domestic opening of all time, not accounting for inflation. However, the domestic sum is only slightly higher than the $158-million opening of its Batman predecessor, 2008's "The Dark Knight," despite four years of rising ticket prices. Fewer fans turned out to see the new film on its first weekend.
People who saw pre-release research before the shootings had predicted the film would open with between $180 million and $200 million. It's impossible to know whether the shooting in a Colorado movie theater played a role in "The Dark Knight Rises" falling short of those expecations, but the film still had a strong debut that probably will make it very profitable for Warner Bros.
For the first time in many years, Warner and other major studios did not release box office estimates Sunday out of concern about appearing insensitive to the news that 12 people had been killed and 58 wounded early Friday at a post-midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" outside Denver.
Although Warner Bros. released the film's weekend grosses Monday, the studio declined to further discuss the figures.
The final installment in Christoper Nolan's Batman trilogy also had a very robust start overseas in just 17 markets. The movie had its biggest debut in the United Kingdom, followed by South Korea, Australia and Spain.
Next weekend, the movie will launch in an additional 40 foreign countries, including all of Latin America, and probably will have a much bigger international take than it did last weekend. However, Warner Bros.' cancellation of premieres in Paris, Tokyo and Mexico City, along with much of the associated publicity, could have an effect.
After receiving a grade of A on average from opening-night moviegoers, "The Dark Knight Rises" is poised for continued success in the U.S. and Canada. That said, the unprecedented nature of Friday's violent tragedy could affect some moviegoers' willingness to head to the multiplex.
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