There has been speculation about the impact of the Aurora massacre on cinema attendance, but it appears Christopher Nolan's flick has steadied itself
While The Dark Knight Rises looks unlikely to reach its predecessor's $533.3m final North American gross, an estimated $64m of business in the second weekend indicated that Christopher Nolan's flick had steadied itself somewhat following last week's Aurora shootings.
To bring in $287.1m after barely two weeks in release is formidable, even without the tragic context that will have kept some people away from the multiplexes.
There was lots of speculation about this in the US trade press last week, but the impact of the massacre is hard to quantify.
The flick dropped 61% in box office in the second weekend – that's fairly regular behaviour for a summer blockbuster.
Both Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman fell around 59% in their second weekends, although The Amazing Spider-Man was very strong, slipping a mere 44%.
It's interesting to note that in summer 2011 the final Harry Potter instalment plummeted 72% in its second weekend.
That flick played like gangbusters overall, and in cases such as these you could argue that the movie's most ardent supporters tend to cram into theatres in opening weekend, leaving slightly less extreme devotees to see it a week later.
It's fair to speculate that if the Aurora shootings have kept people away – and it's true, box office fell against the same session a year ago – then there may be a trickle-back effect that keeps The Dark Knight Rises around for longer as audiences gradually venture back to the multiplexes.
The Olympics in London had an impact, too, and will distract audiences for a few more weeks.
The same happened in August 2008 when Beijing staged the Games.
Back then, box office fell 23% from the prior week and approximately 20% from the same weekend in 2007.
Throughout August 2008, box office either returned comparable numbers to those from the year before or continued to drop while the Games played out in China.
Two flicks broke into the top 10 this week, but don't expect them to stick around.
The Watch is a Fox comedy vehicle for Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill and features the UK's Richard Ayoade.
It opened in third place, with a fairly dismal $12.8m.
Summit's dance flick Step Up Revolution also failed to deliver in a big way through Lionsgate, though you've got to think it has a long life in the ancillary markets such as DVD, VoD and digital.
Killer Joe opened in the US through an upstart distributor called LD Entertainment and grossed $37,900 from three theatres.
William Friedkin's deep-fried thriller is an arthouse play that ought to benefit from strong word of mouth.
North American top 10, 27-29 July 20121 The Dark Knight Rises, $62.1m.
2 Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, $13.4m.
3 The Watch, $12.8m
4 Step Up Revolution, $11.7m
5 Ted, $7.4m.
6 The Amazing Spider-Man, $6.7m.
7 Brave, $4.3m Total: $217.3m
8 Magic Mike, $2.6m.
9 Savages, $1.8m.
10 Moonrise Kingdom, $1.4m Total: $38.6m
Christopher NolanAurora shootingJeremy Kayguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
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