Earlier this summer, The Avengers managed to rake in $18.4 million with midnight 3D (and 2D) screenings – setting a new standard for non-Potter and Twilight early box office returns. However, Christopher Nolan’s final Batman movie has managed to overtake Marvel’s midnight take for the superhero mashup – with an impressive $28 million.

Considering post-midnight pre-sales for the picture are already locked in at over $30 million, The Dark Knight Rises is off to a solid start – albeit one that isn’t guaranteed to overtake The Avengers in the long run.

Especially impressive is the amount of revenue generated by The Dark Knight Rises in standard 2D formats – given that a good chunk of Avengers money can be attributed to 3D and IMAX surcharges. Of course, Nolan’s film is also showing in IMAX and other premium formats (RPX, etc) – that said, the percentage of revenue collected from up-sell costs is much smaller (given that there are plenty of 3D theaters).

Unfortunately, the film had a long way to go if Warner Bros. was been hoping to topple heavily-supported YA novel-turned-film adaptation franchises like Twilight and Harry Potter (which occupy seven spots on the top 10 midnight screenings list).

Check out the breakdown for the top 10 midnight showings – as of this morning:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $43.5 million
  2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 – $30.3 million
  3. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $30.1 million
  4. The Dark Knight Rises – $28 million (unofficial)
  5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $26.3 million
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – $24 million
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $22.2 million
  8. The Hunger Games – $19.7 million
  9. The Avengers – $18.7 million
  10. The Dark Knight – $18.5 million

Only three films have managed to score a higher midnight opening than last night’s return with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at number one ($43.5 million). It’s an incredible number and one that, even with inflation, should take a long time to beat. The Dark Knight Rises box office subsequently knocked Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith out of the top ten (it scored $16.5 million in 2005), which should result in a mixed response from fans – dependent on whether or not they’d rather forget about George Lucas and his return to the Star Wars universe.

$28 million is a great start to a deserving film (read our Dark Knight Rises review) and it’ll be interesting to see how close the movie can come to The Avengers‘ $614,265,453 million dollar take ($1,458,365,453 worldwide). Plenty of industry insiders are already speculating about the effect that last night’s tragedy in Colorado might have on potential box office results (and there’s no doubt that some moviegoers might feel less comfortable hitting a theater right now); however, given the situation, maybe film lovers need a fun trip to the movies now more than ever.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on The Dark Knight Rises as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Dark Knight Rises is now open in U.S. theaters (2D and IMAX).

Source: Deadline