Deadly shooting casts shadow on "The Dark Knight Rises" opening

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises." The trilogy explores the theme of myth-making - what defines a hero in the popular imagination, despite (or perhaps because of) society's strictures against violence and law-breaking, as a vigilante becomes a savior for a city beset by chaos and corruption. Warner Brothers

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises."
Warner Brothers
(CBS News) The deadly movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., has cast a dark shadow on the highly anticipated opening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Early Friday morning, a gunman opened fire on the audience, killing 12 people and wounding dozens of other moviegoers.

In the wake up of the attack, the New York City Police Department said it would provide coverage at theaters to reassure patrons and dissuade copycats.

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Before the shooting, insiders estimated that "The Dark Knight Rises" could open with more than $25 million from midnight runs. Some have said Christopher Nolan's final Batman film may have one of the best box office openings ever, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

So far, box office numbers have topped estimates. Exhibitor Relations reports the movie earned at least $27 million with its midnight opening, beating "The Avengers" debut of $18.7 million.

On Thursday, prior to the shooting, insiders estimated that "The Dark Knight Rises" could bring in $175 million through Sunday, according to Variety. That would make it the second-highest U.S. opening of all time -- behind only "The Avengers," which debuted with $207 million in May.

Excitement had been building for the last film in the trilogy for weeks. "The Dark Knight Rises" made up 91 percent of Fandango's daily ticket sales on Thursday. It had sold out more than 2,000 showtimes nationwide.

Overseas movie ticket sales were high, too. The Batman flick grossed an estimated $10.4 million on its first day in nine international markets.

Promotion for the film has been halted, which could also affect box office numbers. Nolan and cast members Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman have pulled out of press interviews after learning of the shooting.

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