The Dark Knight Rises Will Be Third-Fastest to $300 Million

The Dark Knight Rises made the $65 million it was projected to make this weekend and will therefore likely be the third-fastest film to make $300 million domestically, according to Deadline.

This weekend's $65 million brings the domestic haul for the film to $290 million over the ten days since its release, suggesting that tomorrow it will likely reach $300 million in the U.S. Only Marvel's The Avengers--the highest-grossing superhero film of all time--and The Dark Knight--the second film in the series wrapped by The Dark Knight Rises--have reached that milestone faster, and both of those went on to gross more than $500 million domestically and $1 billion globally.

As of Friday, Box Office Mojo reported that The Dark Knight Rises had generated $243,061,000 domestically, behind The Dark Knight's $261,847,503 and The Avengers' $299,242,890 during the same period.

Where both of those films had dozens of stories written based on fistfuls of press releases issued by Warner Brothers (The Dark Knight) and Disney (The Avengers) at the time of their release, the studio has been much more reserved about The Dark Knight Rises, telling the media that it would be insensitive to boast about the film's box-office take in light of the Aurora shootings. Nielsen Ratings Group also reported that between 20% and 25% of potential moviegoers are "very hesitant" to go to theaters following the attack on a cinema playing The Dark Knight Rises last week.

Fox's The Watch, an alien-invasion comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, fell short of even its modest expectations and generated only $13.3 million to come in second place this weekend. That film, too, has been dogged by external factors; its original title was Neighborhood Watch, changed after a neighborhood watch volunteer killed an unarmed African-American youth in Florida earlier this year.

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“Obviously that situation is a horrible event in its own right,” Deadline quotes an unnamed Fox executive as saying, “but this movie is a broad comedy that bears no relation to that tragedy, other than originally having the title, Neighborhood Watch. That was a funny title that conveyed the movie. Until Zimmerman came on the scene. Then it was not funny at all any more. Now that people have seen the film, it’s clear there is no connection, but we were sensitive to any perceived link.”

A previous story at Deadline had discussed that the Trayvon Martin issue didn't appear to have really registered with moviegoers in general, but that Fox felt the need to be sensitive to the concerns of those who were either directly affected or who were likely to perceive a link and infer bad taste. Even before information was available to back the assumption that the Colorado shootings were driving people from the multiplexes, Warner responded similarly to the events in Aurora, pulling TV spots for The Dark Knight Rises last weekend and cancelling media appearances and a number of regional premieres for the film.