Friday Box Office Analysis
The Dark Knight Breaks Single-Day Record
By Tim Briody
July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight's feat is indeed worthy of applause.

[tm:3640_]The Dark Knight[/tm]

The Dark Knight earned $66 million on Friday according to our friends at ERC. Read that sentence again. Sixty-six million dollars. In one day.

Yes, this is a record. By a very large margin. The previous record holder was May 2007's Spider-Man 3, with an opening day of $59.8 million. Yes, The Dark Knight was aided by round-the-clock showing that began at midnight Thursday, with late night/early morning viewings accounting for $18.5 million of this single-day record. But midnight showings are now pretty much standard for every event film that opens these days (and also films hoping for spillover dollars, as [tm:3805_]Mamma Mia![/tm] and even [tm:3424_]Space Chimps[/tm] had midnight screenings in some locations). Yes, this will lead to an incredibly front-loaded weekend and we'll get to that in a moment.

Spidey not only held (until yesterday) the record for the biggest single-day tally ever, but for at least one more day it also holds the record for the largest opening weekend ever at $151.1 million. Since The Dark Knight is already 8.3% ahead of the current record holder after one day, a weekend multiplier of 2.33 would be all it needs to take over as the all-time record opener. I feel fairly confident in saying that this is a foregone conclusion, mostly because The Dark Knight already has one thing over Spider-Man 3: It apparently does not suck.

Continuing to look at Spider-Man 3, Friday was easily its largest day, something I expect The Dark Knight to duplicate. Even with large declines over Saturday and Sunday, its weekend multiplier was still 2.52. (For the record, Batman Begins had a Wednesday opening and a 3.23 Friday-to-Sunday multiplier. It doesn't work at all as a comparison here.) I think this is a fine comparison to use with The Dark Knight, and a 2.40 multiplier translates to a $158.4 million weekend, your new record for opening weekends.

Mamma Mia!

The film adaptation of the musical using the songs of ABBA comes in second with $9.7 million, a really solid figure. If it's the right type of film, counter-programming can work. It'll be the first time ever a movie has opened to $28.1 million and nobody really seems to notice.

Space Chimps

The 20th Century Fox computer-animated kids film only earned $2.4 million on Friday, truly about the best it could hope for. Fortunately for them, these things aren't all that expensive to make anymore. Expect about $8 million for the weekend.

Notable Holdovers

By virtue of being a sequel (and the presence of The Dark Knight), Hellboy II is completely kneecapped, falling a rather absurd 77% from last Friday to $3.2 million. It should rebound to about $9.6 million, but that's pretty much the definition of falling off a cliff.