Continued from page 1

“The Dark Knight Rises” had expectations of being one of the biggest weekend openings ever. Its midnight screenings earned $30.6 million, Warner Bros., said Friday. That’s the second-best midnight opening ever, behind $43.5 million for the “Harry Potter” finale. “The Dark Knight” earned a then-record $158.4 million in its first three days, including $18.5 million from midnight screenings.

The film played in roughly 3,700 theaters domestically in the midnight screenings, expanding to 4,404 cinemas nationwide Friday. Many showings on the weekend were sold out in advance.

Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for Hollywood.com who specializes in box office, declined to speculate on an effect the tragedy might have on the film over the weekend. But some moviegoers were already rethinking their plans.

Christine Cooley, who works for the University of Florida at a campus facility near Tampa, Fla., said she and her 15-year-old daughter were stunned by the TV coverage of the shooting Friday morning.

“Her immediate reaction was `I’m never going to the movie theater again. Why should I go somewhere where I’m looking over my shoulder worrying that someone is going to come in and harm us when I can wait six months and watch it in the safety of my own home?’”

Cooley said she tried to explain to her daughter that it was an isolated incident, “but I see where she’s coming from. Why put yourself in harm’s way.”

___

AP Movie Writer David Germain and AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire contributed to this report from Los Angeles. Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio, also contributed.