The most highly-anticipated weekend at the summer box office turned into tragedy early Friday morning when a lone gunman dressed in riot gear opened fire on an audience for The Dark Knight Rises in an Aurora, Colorado theater.
Out of respect for the victims of this senseless tragedy, Warner Bros. cancelled the Paris premiere of the film (scheduled to occur on Saturday) and is withholding the release of box office numbers for the film until Monday. Stars Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway returned to the U.S. on Sunday morning, and it is not known when promotional activities will resume for the mega-blockbuster film.
Still, insiders and analysts expect the film will have taken upwards of $160 million in ticket sales and easily clear the number one spot. If the high numbers hold, The Dark Knight Rises will have also beaten the opening of 2008's The Dark Knight, becoming the biggest debut ever for a non-3D film.
While it's not yet known how much The Dark Knight Rises has been affected by the events in Aurora, several other titles at the box office — in particular family films such as Ice Age 4: Continental Drift — registered lower numbers, presumably because families with small children were thinking twice before going to the movies.
In addition, several movie trailers featuring gun violence have been pulled from rotation this weekend, most notably Gangster Squad, the upcoming crime drama whose trailer contains a scene in which a gang of criminals shoot through the screen in a movie theater.
Since most studios have followed Warner Bros. example and are refraining from releasing their numbers, an official tally of the weekend won't be available until Tuesday.
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros Pictures)