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Box office preview: How will 'The Dark Knight Rises' hold up in its second weekend?

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Last weekend, a dark cloud hung over the box office after the tragedy in Aurora, Colo. rocked the country.

The Dark Knight Rises still managed a stunning $160.9 million opening weekend — the third best of all time — but most believe it could have finished with substantially more money had audiences not been avoiding the theater.

There’s definitely still some tension in the air this frame, but movie going is expected to return at least somewhat back to normal. Two new openers are hitting theaters — sci-fi comedy The Watch and dance sequel Step Up Revolution — but they won’t be any match for the second weekend of The Dark Knight Rises. Here’s how the box office may play out: READ FULL STORY

Christian Bale visits hospitalized victims of Colorado shooting

In the wake of Friday’s shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., Warner Bros. canceled the cast’s appearances at premieres abroad, but Christian Bale has quickly found himself with a ticket to a new destination: On Tuesday afternoon the actor was in Aurora visiting victims of the shooting.

The Denver Post reported that the actor spent about two-and-a-half hours at the Medical Center of Aurora.

“The patients were really happy to meet Bale,” Bill Voloch, interim president of Medical Center of Aurora, told the Denver Post. “They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale.”

Among the people Bale visited was Carey Rottman, who posted a photo of himself with Bale on Facebook. READ FULL STORY

Warner Bros. set to make charitable contribution to Colo. shooting victims

Warner Bros., the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, is set to make a “substantial” donation to various charities supporting the victims of the July 20 Aurora, Colo. shooting, EW has confirmed.

The Hollywood Reporter said that the studio has been in contact with Colorado governor John Hickenlooper’s office and will contribute to a fund on the website givingfirst.org. That fund distributes money across several different charities that will support the victims.

Warner Bros. is the first major Hollywood organizations to make a donation.

Read more:
Box office report: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ debuts with $160.9 million
Warner Bros. making changes to ‘Gangster Squad’ in the wake of Aurora shooting
Kevin Smith hosts poignant discussion of Aurora shooting on Hulu’s ‘Spoilers’ — VIDEO

Two arrests at 'Dark Knight Rises' screenings as theater anxiety remains high

Though The Dark Knight Rises played to mostly full houses in its opening weekend, the horrific shooting rampage at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colo., has raised moviegoers’ anxieties as theaters and audiences remain on edge for fear of copycat criminals. “I have to admit that as we were walking to the theater from the car I thought where should we sit that gives us the best chance of escape should there be a copycat,” says Will Kilfoyle, 37, a first grade teacher in Sacramento, Calif., who saw the film on Friday night. “The thought crossed my mind even though I am fully aware that the chance of me getting struck by lightening is probably higher.”

Kilfoyle is not alone. In Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Friday night, a man who appeared inebriated and acted strangely during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises was arrested after a confrontation caused “mass hysteria” as people fled the theater, according to the Associated Press. Michael William Borboa, 27, who had entered the theater with a backpack, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, and threatening and intimidating. No weapons were found in Borboa’s backpack, which held only alcohol containers. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'The Dark Knight Rises' debuts with $160.9 million

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Official numbers are in, and the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises, earned a gargantuan $160.9 million in its opening weekend — the third-best debut of all time, and the best ever for a 2-D movie. The haul, which includes $19 million from 332 IMAX screens, is just slightly ahead of The Dark Knight‘s $158.3 million debut in 2008, and slightly behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2‘s $169.2 million in 2011.

Prognosticators said the film would finish somewhere between $180 and 200 million during its first three days (I predicted $192 million), but the tragic shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo. on Friday may have dissuaded some moviegoers from heading out to the theater over the weekend.
READ FULL STORY

Warner Bros. making changes to 'Gangster Squad' in the wake of Aurora shooting

Immediately following the July 20 shooting spree at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, Warner Bros. pulled the trailers for its star-studded upcoming action-drama Gangster Squad, which—in a chilling echo of the rampage—featured a scene of mobsters bursting through a movie screen and firing machine guns at people seated in a movie theater.

There was widespread speculation that the studio would need to either push back the film’s planned Sept. 7 release date to distance it further from the Aurora shooting or remove the scene from the film entirely. Now a source tells EW that the studio has determined that the movie-theater-gangland-massacre scene will, in fact, either be cut completely or at least extensively reworked.

Unfortunately for the studio and director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), that scene plays a pivotal part in the film’s existing story, which chronicles the 1940s reign of ruthless real-life mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and the efforts of a group of Los Angeles cops (Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, among others) to take him down. For the moment, Warner Bros. has not changed the film’s release date, but cutting or dramatically altering a key scene will inevitably require script revisions and reshoots, which could easily end up delaying the film’s release.

Read more:
‘Gangster Squad’ trailer pulled over theater-shooting scene
‘Gangster Squad’ trailer: Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin go up against a dirty Sean Penn

James Holmes' family speaks as police release mug shot

His hair dyed a shocking comic-book shade of orange-red, the former doctoral student accused of killing moviegoers at a showing of the new Batman movie appeared in court for the first time on Monday, but he didn’t seem to be there at all. James Holmes shuffled into court in a maroon jailhouse jumpsuit with his hands cuffed — the first look the world got of the 24-year-old since the Friday shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 others injured at a packed midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Unshaven and appearing dazed, Holmes sat virtually motionless during the hearing, his eyes drooping as the judge advised him of the severity of the case. At one point, Holmes simply closed his eyes. Prosecutors said they didn’t know if he was being medicated. Throughout the hearing, he never said a word. His attorneys did all the talking when the judge asked him if he understood his rights.

His demeanor, however, angered the relatives of some of the victims of the shooting. Some stared at him the entire hearing, including Tom Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed in the attack. Teves watched Holmes intently, sizing him up. “I saw the coward in court today and Alex could have wiped the floor with him without breaking a sweat,” said Teves, whose son, a physical therapist, dove to protect his girlfriend. “You shot a 6-year-old. Come on give me a break. You’re dressed in full combat gear, immediately surrender. Come on. Pick on some guys who know how to use guns,” Teves said. READ FULL STORY

Shooting suspect looks dazed in first court appearance following Aurora rampage

His hair dyed orange-red and a dazed look on his face, the man accused of going on a deadly shooting rampage at the opening of the new Batman movie appeared Monday in court for the first time. An unshaven, handcuffed James Holmes, 24, sat in maroon jailhouse jumpsuit as the judge advised him of the case. Holmes sat motionless, his eyes appearing tired and drooping. At one point, he closed his eyes as the judge spoke. Prosecutors said later they didn’t know if Holmes was on medication. Authorities have said he is being held in isolation at the jail.

Holmes didn’t speak once during the hearing. His attorneys answered for him when the judge asked if he understood his rights. One woman’s eyes welled up with tears during the hearing.

Police say Holmes, clad in body armor and armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and handguns opened fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. He was arrested shortly after the Friday shooting. He is refusing to cooperate, authorities say. They said it could take months to learn what prompted the attack on the moviegoers. READ FULL STORY

Aurora movie-theater shooting suspect not talking to police, expected in court today

As the suspected gunman in the Colorado theater massacre heads to his first court appearance, authorities have disclosed that he is refusing to cooperate and that it could take months to learn what prompted the horrific attack on midnight moviegoers at a Batman film premiere. James Holmes has been held in solitary confinement at an Arapahoe County detention facility but will be moved Monday to a next-door courtroom for a 9:30 a.m. MDT hearing, where the charges against him of suspicion of first degree murder will be read.

Holmes has been assigned a public defender and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said that the 24-year-old former doctoral student has “lawyered up” since his arrest early Friday, following the shooting at an Aurora theater that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, some critically. “He’s not talking to us,” the chief said. READ FULL STORY

'The Dark Knight Rises': The most disturbing aspect of the on-screen violence

I don’t think the comic-book violence embedded in Batman movie mythology caused  the horrible movie-theater killing spree in Aurora, Colo., turning mass excitement at the first showing of The Dark Knight Rises into mass terror. Assault weapons and a mountain of ammunition, pathetically easy and legal for an average American evil madman to obtain, did that. While the attack took place at a suburban multiplex on a summer’s night, the same horror could have been unleashed somewhere else — a baseball stadium, a shopping mall, a music arena, any place we gather as a group, feeling trusting and fortunate.

I do think, though, that a very specific kind of bullet-free brutality employed at length in TDKR ought to disturb viewers a lot more than it does. This desensitization has been on my mind since I saw the movie, and it bothers me now, even as the weekend is filled with debate, yet again, about American gun laws. The physical, hand-to-hand ferocity with which Batman and his latest nemesis, Bane, try to kill one another is documented at such length, and with such lavish visual and aural attention paid to pain and bone crushing, that, even within comic-book superhero parameters, it’s an agony to watch. Or at least it should be.

It’s no secret that, aside from his plan to pitch Gotham City into anarchy using weapons of mass destruction, Bane is, personally, a monstrous thug. Just look at the guy! His flesh tank of a body is built to withstand pummeling that might cripple your average villain, and Bane is capable of delivering damage so intense that, for a time, Batman is truly out of commission. This vulnerability is meant to parallel the good guy’s own existential exhaustion, etc. etc. etc., yet the rain of oofs and pows had me flinching for so long that at some point I became inured. And then angry. Why is this exhibition in our faces? Why must we look?

To complain about oofs and pows in a movie about superheros and supervillains is arguably silly. I get it, that’s what these stories have been built on since the first kerSPLAT sound effect was inked on a pulpy page. We know the difference between what can break a real human body and what make-believe beings can endure. Yet the pitiless determination with which these drawn-out scenes of human-scale violence have been so carefully, even obsessively, staged and filmed in this comic-book production, built on the scale of a modern epic, kind of broke my spirit. And my heart.

This weekend, as millions of hearts across the country are broken in the wake of such extreme real violence, I feel like I never want to see another orchestration of fictional oof ever again. How about you?

Follow Lisa at @lisaschwarzbaum

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