‘Dark Knight’ Has Strong Opening Weekend Despite Theater Massacre

Despite the mass shooting that occurred at a Friday midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest Batman movie is on track to earn an estimated $162 million in its opening weekend. It’s a sign that the tragedy, though extremely upsetting for everyone, probably had little to no effect in keeping people out of the theaters.

Dark Knight Rises Batman poster

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. While most of the Hollywood studios declined to give their usual box-office numbers over the weekend out of respect for the victims of the Colorado shooting that killed 12 and wounded dozens more, it was pretty obvious that this movie would do well no matter what. (Industry trade publications reported the estimates based on figures given by box-office sources for Friday, which include pre-sale tickets.)

The shooting was of course horrific and made international headlines, with “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan and cast members including Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway expressing their sadness and sympathy for the victims’ loved ones. Naturally there was also speculation that some moviegoers would be afraid to go into a theater showing the film for fear of copycat attacks.

But from the estimates, it’s clear that most people could see this was a rare, isolated incident, the deliberate, planned work of one very sick and evil person, and not something that would be duplicated anytime soon. Though it’s certainly understandable why anyone walking into a dark theater to see the movie this weekend (and probably for some time to come) would be conscious of the shooting, there was little real reason to stay away.

Christopher Nolan’s previous two Batman movies have been phenomenally successful, and there are millions of fans hotly anticipating this final installment of the trilogy who wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Did anyone really doubt that it would be a blockbuster?

Frankly, no matter how much people across the country sympathize with those affected by Friday’s tragedy, most folks are simply too removed from it to be moved enough to alter their plans. And really, why should they? In a way it’s a poke in the eye of the alleged shooter, James Holmes, to go ahead and see the movie without qualms instead of letting him tarnish people’s innocent enjoyment of a night’s entertainment with fear and sadness. He doesn’t deserve that satisfaction.

Photo: marvelousRoland via Flickr

©Theo Tattinger 2012

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