The Dark Knight Rises, which stars Christian Bale in the title role and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, inspired a sense of awe in many reviewers, who found its nearly three hours a worthy conclusion to this three-film cycle; Hathaway’s saucy performance in particular won rave reviews. (Bale released a statement on Saturday about the killings, reading, in part, “Words cannot express the horror that I feel.”)
Audiences scored The Dark Knight Rises an A in exit polls, an indication that strong word of mouth may help ticket sales in the weeks ahead. But like many movies in this Hollywood age, the film’s ultimate fortunes rest with overseas audiences, and there was no information available on Sunday about how it was performing there. The Colorado shootings, which left more than 50 injured, generated global headlines, and Warner canceled a planned red carpet premiere in Paris for Friday night.
About 47 percent of the US$1 billion in global ticket sales for The Dark Knight in 2008 came from international theaters, but Rises was expected to do much better, partly because of interest in expanding markets like Russia.
Warner has already been working to reimagine Batman for another film series, although a reboot would not come before 2015 at the earliest, given the production cycle these kinds of effects-driven movies require. Nolan has said he would not be involved, and The Los Angeles Times recently reported that he declined a Warner overture to be involved with the studio’s Avengers-style Justice League” project.
Next summer Warner will release Man of Steel, featuring an updated version of Superman and produced by Nolan. But beyond Batman the studio has been unable to figure out lately how to successfully bring its stable of DC Comics superheroes to theaters, even as the rival Marvel — now owned by the Walt Disney Co. — has scored over and over.
That helps to explain why Warner — privately — was exhaling deeply on the Sunday after the tragedy.