The eyes were on The Dark Knight Rises' weekend number, but the tell was possibly in Spider-Man's. And Ice Age's. And so on and so on.
The Dark Knight Rises, with much of its business staked in advance-ticket sales made before the rampage at one of its midnight screenings, emerged on top, with a $160.9 million Friday-Sunday debut, per numbers released by its studio. Opening-weekend audiences graded the movie an A.
The debut is the third-biggest on record, and the top take for a film shown strictly in 2-D and 2-D IMAX. But it's not quite what was expected of the followup to the box-office-record-setter The Dark Knight.
"We'll never be able to know how much money this tragedy cost Warner Bros.," Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock said Monday. "I think it's safe to say it [would've made] $15 million-$20 million more if that had never happened."
Elsewhere, Ice Age: Continental Drift ($20.4 million), the previous weekend's No. 1 film, saw ticket revenue plunge nearly 60 percent, while The Amazing Spider-Man ($10.9 million), which lost a good chunk of screens, was down nearly 70 percent. The comedy Ted ($10 million) dipped 55 percent. Among holdover films in the Top 10, Pixar's Brave ($6 million) did the best, with business down just 46 percent.
"The family demographic possibly stayed away from The Dark Knight Rises, and they stayed away from films in general," Bock said, "and that's not a surprise given what happened."
Hollywood.com's Paul Dergarabedian said the dips also could be attributed to the Batman movie's domination of the multiplex. "it's hard to tell," he said in an email.
It likewise was too soon to tell what Aurora meant, or will mean, to The Dark Knight Rises.
Its opening-day gross of $75.8 million, bolstered by strong advance-ticket sellouts, was the third-biggest in Hollywood history.
But take away the midnight portion of the opening-day performance, and The Dark Knight Rises ran behind 2008's The Dark Knight all weekend long: Friday's non-midnight gross was about $45.8 million versus the $48.7 million non-midnight take for The Dark Knight; Saturday came in at $44.9 million versus The Dark Knight's $47.7 million; and Sunday brought in $40.2 million versus the earlier film's $43.6 million gross on the same day.
The Dark Knight Rises' opening-night midnight screenings were the only ones that occurred either before the Aurora shooting or before news of the incident broke wide.
Overall, Hollywood ticket revenue was up significantly over last week and the same weekend last year, two periods which lacked for a Batman-size blockbuster.
About the best thing The Dark Knight Rises, if not the film industry, has going for it is the A grade, usually a sign of good box-office things to come.
The numbers are the first in days. The results, usually issued on Sunday morning, were delayed when Warner Bros., the company behind The Dark Knight Rises, and the other major studios opted to remain silent over the weekend.
Twelve people were killed and many more wounded in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history at an opening-night, midnight-Friday screening of Dark Knight Rises in Aurora.
Here's an updated rundown of the top 10 all-time opening weekends, as compiled per BoxOfficeMojo.com stats: