The Dark Knight Rises' box-office performance, which has been blockbuster, but off the pace of The Dark Knight, is "directly attributable" to the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., according to the film's studio.
"There's no question about it," Warner Bros. exec Jeff Goldstein said Sunday.
The comments came as the box office in general continued to normalize: Over the weekend, holdover hits like Ted continued to hold on, movies that looked to disappoint, like the Total Recall reboot, disappointed, and nobody thought movie-goers were staying away from theaters for any scarier reason than the London 2012 Olympics.
At the top of the heap was The Dark Knight Rises, which remained undefeated at No. 1. Its estimated take of $36.4 million was the sixth-largest-ever Friday-Sunday gross for a film in its third week of release, per BoxOfficeMojo.com stats.
Perhaps most key, the concluding chapter in Christopher Nolan's Batman saga held better weekend-to-weekend than The Dark Knight did at the same point.
"The trend is strong," Goldstein said. "People are interested in the movie."
But Aurora looks to have had a lasting impact.
As of Sunday, The Dark Knight Rises' domestic box-office total was 90 percent of what The Dark Knight's was: a projected 17-day take of $354.4 million versus $393.8 million.
The only major box-office period in which The Dark Knight Rises has run ahead of The Dark Knight was at opening-day midnight shows.
It was at such a screening in Aurora that 12 people were killed and dozens more wounded in the largest-scale mass shooting in U.S. history. In the immediate aftermath, overall movie-going dipped.
Overseas, however, Goldstein said, The Dark Knight Rises is "dramatically ahead" of The Dark Knight.
The new film has grossed $378.4 million internationally, its studio said Sunday. Thus far in its foreign run in 2008, The Dark Knight was at about $210 million.
Goldstein predicted The Dark Knight Rises will end up a bigger worldwide hit than The Dark Knight, with the new film going "way past $1 billion."