"The Dark Knight Rises" has earned over $211 million at the domestic box office so far, but the Batman finale is lagging behind the six-day grosses of both "The Dark Knight" ($221 million) and "Marvel's The Avengers" ($257 million). That could have something to do with franchise fatigue, but also the massacre at an Aurora, Colo. theater last week that left 12 dead and 59 injured.
According to new data from Hollywood research firm NRG, reported by THR and the Los Angeles Times among others, up to 20 percent of potential moviegoers may stay home this weekend as a result of the shootings. That would significantly curtail the earning power of not just Christopher Nolan's Batman finale, but also new releases "The Watch" and "Step Up Revolution."
It has been quite a rocky road to the theater for "The Watch," which stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill. The film was originally called "Neighborhood Watch," but its marketing campaign and title were changed in the wake of Trayvon Martin's murder earlier this year. Now it faces not only the second weekend of "The Dark Knight Rises," but also another real-life tragedy that clouds its box office picture.
"Step Up Revolution," the fourth film in the "Step Up" franchise, isn't free from the controversy either. The film features a scene where dancers break into a room wearing gas masks -- a la Aurora shooter James Holmes -- but despite some notable complaints, Summit Entertainment announced the sequence would remain in the finished product.
Both of the newcomers are expected to gross in the mid-teens this weekend; "The Dark Knight Rises" should pace the pack with at least $60 million in ticket sales.
For more on the NRG report, head over to the Times and THR.