“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” remained atop the box office this weekend — but the Aurora shooting tragedy on the night of the Batman film’s debut apparently continues to affect some of the public willingness to go see it.

“The Dark Knight Rises” grossed nearly $64.1-million in its second weekend in North American theaters — a sizable 60-percent drop from its debut weekend, according to estimates reported Sunday by Warner Bros. Final numbers are expected Monday.

Christopher Nolan’s final film in his Batman trilogy has now grossed $289.2-million domestically and a global total of $537.2-million, according to tracking site BoxOfficeMojo.com. Last week, the film grossed $160.9-million to notch the biggest 2-D-only domestic debut ever, topping the record of the most recent Batman film.

A TIME OF HEALING: Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Alfred (Michael Caine) in “The Dark Knight Rises.” (DC ENTERTAINMENT / WARNER BROS. / LEGENDARY PICTURES/PHOTO BY RON PHILLIPS)

The Dark Knight Rises’ ” second-weekend decline is reportedly sharper than those for 2008’s “The Dark Knight” (53 percent) and this year’s “The Avengers” (50 percent) and “The Amazing Spider-Man” (44 percent).

“It’s been a double dose of things,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com box office tracking, told Reuters. “The Olympics has been dominating media coverage lately and probably kept a lot of people home Friday night, and then there’s the Aurora shooting.” He predicts the box office will bounce back next weekend.

“There will be a bit more distance from the Aurora shooting, the Olympics will become routine, and there’s some really exciting films coming out,” Dergarabedian told Reuters, citing “Total Recall” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

Elsewhere, the animated “Ice Age” 4 was second for the weekend ($13.3-million), dipping 35-percent; it was followed by the debuts of the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn comedy “The Watch” ($13-million) and “Step Up Revolution” ($11.8-million).

Warner Bros. delayed the Batman box-office results for a day last weekend, after a gunman killed 12 and wounded 58 at a midnight screening of the film in Colorado on July 20. Nolan and some of the film’s stars released statements about the shooting, and star Christian Bale visited some of the shooting victims and emergency personnel in Aurora. Warner Bros. also announced that it would make a “substantial” donation to the victims.

The shooting was followed by several causes for alarm seemingly tied to “The Dark Knight Rises,” including a man’s mass-shooting threat in Maryland ; the man has not been charged while undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

The tragedy has also affected other media content, as DC Entertainment asked retailers to postpone sale of a Batman comic for a month because of potential “offensive content”; its parent Warner Bros. said it will alter some content in its animated Batman TV show; and Tribune Media Services and GoComics.com pulled a “Broom Hilda” strip last Wednesday that coincidentally referred to gunshot sounds in a movie theater — but not before the comic was seen by some readers.


Tribune Media Services and GoComics.com pulled this July 25 strip of “Broom Hilda” in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. shootings — but not before it was viewed by some readers. (Russell Myers)