With more than 40 million potential moviegoers staying home on Friday to watch the Olympic Games' opening ceremony, theater ticket booths were as dark as the featured blockbuster inside. Some movies in fact played to empty or near-empty houses, with The Dark Knight coming in well below forecasts with just $18 million on Friday. Some industry observers expressed concern that it wasn't only the Olympic opener that was keeping people home. They fretted over a study by research firm NRG indicating that 20-25 percent of moviegoers are afraid to go to theaters in the wake of last week's Aurora, CO shooting. However, all the worries proved to be unwarranted. Moviegoers poured back into theaters on Saturday as ticket sales increased by nearly 30 percent. That led studio executives to project a weekend haul for Dark Knight Rises of $64 million. Not sharing in the bounty, however, were the two new releases. Fox's The Watch was projected to open in third place with $13 million, a tad below the same studio's Ice Age - Continental Drift , which was forecast to earn $13.3 million. Summit's Step Up Revolution was projected to earn only $11.8 million, to place fourth. Analysts attributed the poor showing to terrible word-of-mouth as much as to Olympics hysteria or terrorist fear.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. The Dark Knight Rises , $64 million; 2. Ice Age Continental Drift , $13 million; 3. The Watch , $13 million; 4. Step Up Revolution, $11.8 million; 5. Ted , $7.4 million; 6. The Amazing Spider-Man , $6.8 million; 7. Brave , $4.2 million; 8. Magic Mike , $2.6 million; 9. Savages , $1.8 million; 10. Moonrise Kingdom , $1.4 million.