Box Office: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ officially debuts to $160.8 million

Hollywood has released the box office results for the past weekend, a day later than usual.  Warner Bros. and all the major studios decided to hold their annual Sunday estimates out of respect for the tragic shooting early Friday morning during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Over the three-day frame, “Rises” grossed $160.8 million.  A majority of that gross came from Friday screenings including midnight showings. “Rises” found $76.1 million on Friday,  That’s the third biggest single day gross in history behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2,” which made $91 million last summer, and “The Avengers,” which raked in $80.8 million in May.  Both those films, however, had the benefit of higher 3D ticket prices in over half their theaters.  Only 330 theaters of “Rises” 4,404 screens were IMAX, which is also a higher average ticket price.  That’s a substantial difference when comparing “Rises”‘ performance overall.

It may sound callous, but no one doubts that the shooting affected the film’s performance the rest of the weekend.  Pre-release polling indicated a debut for “Rises” in the $190-200 million range. Instead, “Rises”‘ $160.8 million gross is barely above the $158.4 million “The Dark Knight” found four years ago.  The debut is still the third largest of all time behind the previously mentioned “Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” ($169.1 million) and “The Avengers” ($207.4 million).  The question is whether moviegoers will return to theaters in the weeks to come to see “Rises” once news stories about the shooting inevitably die down. “Dark Knight” found $533 million overall.  A more conservative estimate could see “Rises” perform in the $405 million range of “The Hunger Games” earlier this year. Industry observers will be looking at the weekday grosses and next weekend’s cume to determine its long-term viability.

Dropping to second was 20th Century Fox’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” The animated sequel fell a surprising 57% for another $20.3 million and $88.8 million in just 10 days. Most animated family films drop less than 50% their second weekend. Either “Ice Age 4” received bad word of mouth among parents or it was also a side effect of Friday’s shooting.

“Amazing Spider-Man” found itself in third with another $10.8 million and $228.7 million so far.  At this point, “Spider-Man” should finish in the $260-270 million range. That’s significantly less than “Spider-Man 3’s” $336.5 million in 2007.

“Ted” continued its strong run in fourth with another $10.1 million and $180.4 million. Seth McFarlane’s comedy should easily surpass the $200 million mark.  That would be Universal Studios’ second $200 million grosser this year after “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.”

Fifth place went to “Brave” with another $6 million to add to its $208 million tally. That makes it the 9th highest grossing Pixar movie to date behind “WALL-E’s” $223 million.

Channing Tatum made history, becoming one of the few actors to ever topline three $100 million grossers in one year (Mel Gibson is one of the others, in 2000).  “The Vow” found $125 million in February and “21 Jump Street” grossed $138.4 million beginning in March.  Now, “Magic Mike” has made $102 million.  Tatum’s $100 million run will likely end when the indie “10 Year” debuts in limited release this September.

New releases on Friday include “The Watch” and “Step Up: Revolution.” Fox Searchlight’s “Ruby Sparks” debuts on Wednesday in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.