LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Batman sequel "The Dark Knight Rises" topped movie box office charts this weekend with nearly $64.1 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, a 60 percent drop from its debut last week in the wake of a fatal shooting in a Colorado movie theater.
The reduction in ticket sales for the movie starring Christian Bale as the comic book crimefighter trailed the performance of its 2008 predecessor "The Dark Knight," which fell 53 percent in its second weekend to earn $75 million.
The drop also proved weaker than this year's huge summer hit, "The Avengers," which opened to roughly $207 million in its first weekend and fell about 50 percent to $103 million.
On July 20, a gunman burst into a movie theater at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado, and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 58. It has been difficult to pin down just exactly how the massacre impacted business for the movie, which cost the Warner Bros. studio around $250 million to make and tens of millions more to market.
But overall, "Dark Knight Rises" played well through the week and now has amassed $289 million total U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, and other films with huge opening weekends have fallen off more than 60 percent in the past. The domestic box office for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II," for instance, fell 72 percent from $169 million its first weekend to $47 million in its second.
Among other titles in theaters, animated children's film "Ice Age: Continental Drift," about animals on a global adventure, retained the No. 2 spot on box office charts by earning $13.3 million at domestic theaters.
"The Watch," a new comedy in theaters this week, brought in $13 million to land in third place. The film stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as men who start a neighborhood watch group and battle aliens.
"The Dark Knight Rises" was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. News Corp's 20th Century Fox film studio distributed "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "The Watch."
(Additional reporting by Andrea Burzyinski; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Bill Trott)