Warner Bros. said the final installment of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy earned $160,887,295.
The debut makes "The Dark Knight Rises" the biggest 2-D opening ever ahead of its 2008 predecessor, "The Dark Knight." It also gives the movie the third-largest opening after the 3-D films "The Avengers" with $207.4 million and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" with $169.2 million.
Despite the impressive $160.9 million opening, "The Dark Knight Rises" fell somewhat below box office expectations going into the weekend, which ranged from $170 million to $200 million.
"Clearly, 'The Dark Knight Rises' was on everyone's minds," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for Hollywood.com who specializes in box office. "I think the American public showed they were not going to be scared away from the movie theater by the actions of a lunatic."
Dergarabedian called the film's opening "extremely impressive given the tragic events that unfolded on Friday."
"The Dark Knight Rises" earned $19.1 million alone from IMAX screenings.
Sony, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Lionsgate joined "Dark Knight Rises" distributor Warner Bros. in publicly withholding their usual revenue reports this weekend until Monday.
They did so out of respect for the victims and their families after the mass shooting that left 12 dead and 58 wounded at a midnight screening of the movie in Aurora, Colo.
Following behind "Dark Knight Rises" in the No. 2 spot was "Ice Age: Continental Drift," the animated Fox film which dropped 56 percent in its second weekend to $20.4 million, and the Sony superhero reboot "The Amazing Spider-Man," which earned $10.9 million during its third weekend at the box office, in the No. 3 position.