Despite four years of relentless anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises fell short of expectations, at least at the box office.

The film brought in a strong $160.8 million in its first three days of release, but fell remarkably short of the record $207 million debut claimed by Marvel’s The Avengers in May. Its first-week numbers place the latest Batman adventure as the third highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, behind last year’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at $169 million. Analysts had initially expected that the grand finale to the Christopher Nolan helmed trilogy (which Nolan himself recently bid a formal farewell to) would reach as high as $195 million. Of course, there are some factors to consider…

To be fair, ticket sales were likely affected by the horrific events in Colorado which preceded the weekend, leaving many moviegoers a bit hesitant about rushing out to theaters. Buoyed by midnight screenings and presales, The Dark Knight Rises earned $75.7 million on Friday, and those numbers consistently dropped as the weekend went on, tapering off at just over $40 million on Sunday. As it stands, The Dark Knight Rises is unlikely to match the $600 million domestic take that The Avengers has raked in during its release.

However, Warner Brothers (and Bat-fans everywhere) certainly should be proud of the film’s performance. The Dark Knight Rises also didn’t have the boost of higher-priced 3D ticket sales (as Avengers did) but still managed to set a record for best bow by a strictly 2D film. Thanks to the sheer scope of the film and Nolan’s visual panache, many fans opted to see the film in IMAX, where it played on a record 332 screens, accounting for $19 million of its total box office take. All in all, the film – against a reported $250 million budget – has brought in $249 million worldwide and will expand internationally to another 40 territories this week.

Had the circumstances surrounding its opening weekend been different, The Dark Knight Rises may have welcomed a more impressive opening weekend – but as it stands, the film is poised to close out Nolan’s acclaimed series with a solid – if not particularly record-breaking – finish.

The only question left is: Which superhero film did you think was better?

Source: The Wrap