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The Dark Knight Rises opens to $30.6 million in midnight takings in US

The Dark Knight Rises

Story by Jack Foley

CHRISTOPHER Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises has taken a whopping $30.6 million in midninght takings in the US to become the second highest midnight grosser of all time.

The film trails behind the final Harry Potter film, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which took $43.5 million. But the film remains on track to set records and become the year’s highest grossing film so far, ahead of The Avengers and in spite of the shooting incident that took place a Colorado theater just outside of Denver.

Speculation is rife among various American cinema sites as to whether the shooting will affect the film’s box office, while questions have been asked of distributor Warner Bros as to whether they will continue to promote and roll the film out as planned in the wake of the incident.

But an executive quoted by The Hollywood Reporter notes: “The company is devastated, but everything is moving forward.”

The shooting is believed to be an isolated incident even though police in New York have announced they will be stepping up security at cinemas throughout the five boroughs in case of copycat crimes.

The National Association of Theater Owners also issued a statement in the wake of the day’s events, saying it is working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.

The statement reads: “On behalf of all the members and staff of the National Association of Theatre Owners, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this despicable act and their families.

“We are grateful for the quick and effective response by police and emergency personnel. Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. NATO members are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.”

A 24-year-old male was arrested after the incident and is now in custody. He reportedly moved to Colorada last year from California to attend medical school.

According to various eye-witness reports, the man was wearing a gas mask and bulletproof vest as he entered the cinema from an emergency exit at the front of the building, tossed a smoke bomb in front of the screen and then opened fire randomy on the audience.

Twelve people lost their lives in the incident with many others suffering injuries from either smoke inhalation or bullet wounds.

Police also raided his apartment to find it apparently booby-trapped with “sophisticated” explosives.

The shooting has rocked America with President Obama inviting the nation to pull together like one big family and Warner Bros issuing a statement saying they were “deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident”.

“We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time,” the statement said.

In Europe, the Paris premiere of the film has been cancelled, while a press conference and subsequent interviews were also stopped.

The only member of the cast to react to the shootings so far has been Gary Oldman, who is quoted by Digital Spy as saying: “My prayers and deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families of this horrific act.”