The Dark Knight Rises
Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
July 30, 2012
Kim Hollis: The Dark Knight Rises has earned $287.1 million in ten days of release. Saving the other aspects of the conversation for Topic #2, what are your thoughts on its box office thus far?
Bruce Hall: Things looked potentially grim on Friday but a 60% drop in sales wouldn't have surprised me even with no Aurora, and no Olympics. Word-of-mouth has been generally good so as people rediscover the film, I suspect we'll be talking about it again.
Tim Briody: Without taking any other factors into account, anything that earns $287 million after 10 days is absolutely phenomenal. The problem is The Dark Knight was at $313 million at the same point. While you would expect The Dark Knight Rises to not exactly match the pace of the film that eventually became the second highest grossing film of all time to that point, that gap is going to significantly widen with each passing day, to the point where it finishes well below what we were expecting 10 days ago.
Jason Barney: Well, this is all about the expectations situation, and for those of us who follow the week to week numbers scenarios there is a lot to talk about. I think the current Batman's performance at the box office is fine, actually. I can't discount what happened in Colorado, even if the new film is getting high marks at RT. That is not to say that I won't see it, because I will, but I also think there is a balance between the "art" discussion and the real effect those shootings had on people.
Back to the expectations, though. If we were talking about most films, $280 million after a few days of release would be a dream scenario. For some who follow this stuff every day, it is a disaster versus this particular film's expectations. The first Chris Nolan Batman was good, and garnered interest. The second with the Joker was good and set all of those records, but we should also remember that some of those records were based on the death of the one of the lead actors in that film. Thus, the box office success was inflated because of tragic events off screen.
Versus some expectations, the film is not performing as hoped. We all need to take a breath, though. The film has already surpassed its production budget. It is making tons of money overseas. If it doesn't match some expectations as an earner at the box office, that is okay. Perhaps there is a little sting concerning the performance of Avengers as well. People wanted there to be a race and now there isn't.
Expectations. That is what this is all about. If it doesn't match dream expectations at the box office, the movie industry will still go on.
Felix Quinonez: For most movies, $289 million in 10 days would be amazing but The Dark Knight Rises is not most movies. I think it's hard to separate the shooting from the movie's box office performance because I believe they've become so entangled. But if that tragic event hadn't occurred and these were the numbers the Dark Knight Rises was putting up I would have been disappointed and surprised because I believe it would have and should have made a lot more.
Samuel Hoelker: When I saw Friday's numbers, my heart sank, and when I saw the weekend estimates, I was very surprised. Like everyone else, I have Nolan's franchise on a pedestal above any other superhero franchise. While The Avengers was fun, and most of the Marvel films not starring Edward Norton were cromulent at the very least, these films do much more. I never thought The Dark Knight Rises would beat Avengers, and it's a shame that it won't, but I think we should still be content that we have an excellent, mostly satisfying conclusion to one of the more unique franchises of the decade. And in the end, it'll be what's more remembered in film history, for better and for worse.
Edwin Davies: For pretty much any movie, nearly $300 million in ten days is pretty spectacular, and I would say that it's still pretty good for The Dark Knight Rises, even taking all the other events surrounding it out of the equation.
One of the key areas of discussion leading up to the release of the film - and this is something that we have touched on in MMQBs in the past - was whether or not The Dark Knight represented an anomaly because of the perfect storm created around its release by the untimely and tragic death of Heath Ledger, but also from the fact that it pitted Batman against his greatest and most iconic foe. Before Aurora, before the actual opening weekend, this was the main point of contention; without as powerful a villain as the Joker, and the accompanying media storm, could The Dark Knight Rises ever hope to top its predecessor? I was always very optimistic on this point and thought that it might, but there always remained the possibility that it wouldn't, and that even the sequel effect would not be enough to help it to ultimately outgross The Dark Knight, even if it started stronger.
Since I had that potential outcome in the back of my mind, this result does not strike me as particularly disastrous relatively to expectations, since even great sequels have sometimes failed to outperform the films they followed. Case in point; Spider-Man 2 made $30 million less than Spider-Man, even though the first film was beloved and the second was generally considered to be even better. Obviously the numbers we are dealing with here are far bigger and the circumstances are more extreme, so the final difference between the two films could be as much as $100 million or more, but even so, I don't think anyone is going to walk away thinking of The Dark Knight Rises as a disaster, so much as a missed opportunity caused by an event that no one could have foreseen.
Jim Van Nest: I think Edwin nailed this one. The expectations set were unrealistic. There was a "perfect storm" surrounding Dark Knight that didn't accompany Rises. Ledger's death was a part of that, but I really think that the Joker character was a larger part of it. A film doesn't make the kind of money Dark Knight did by catering to comic book guys and fanboys, it has to have a much larger appeal. Everyone from five-year-olds to grannies know who Joker is. I don't think you can say the same for Bane. And while he may be a more desirable villain to the fanboys, to the masses, he's a dude wearing a funny mask. I think the $287 million over ten days is phenomenal and folks probably shouldn't have expected so much from it.
David Mumpower: Edwin's final sentence rings true to me. The pace of The Dark Knight Rises is epic compared to the overwhelming majority of movies. The overall opinion of the film's performance hinges on whether people decide standing in the shadow of The Dark Knight is okay. I always had these concerns about the follow-up movie to the most triumphant project in a generation (prior to the release of Avatar). I never in a million years expected The Dark Knight Rises to fall this far behind the pace of The Dark Knight after ten days, though. The Dark Knight Rises is $26.7 million behind and dropping back an average of $4 million a day. I simply do not see it recovering at this point. The overall rate of decay is too significant.
I believed this movie would earn so much in its first two weeks that it would approach The Dark Knight in final domestic take primarily due to early momentum. Now that this has failed to occur, The Dark Knight Rises is in the same situation The Amazing Spider-Man was after its second weekend. The movie has already earned most of its money (probably somewhere between 65% and 72% of its final take), which leaves us to debate whether said amount is enough. I describe the current expected domestic take as acceptable but definitely not impressive.
Shalimar Sahota: I see $289 million in ten days as a fantastic number. I'm sure many a studio would shout this from the rooftops. The only problem here is that as the third film in Nolan's Batman franchise, we can't help but draw comparisons to what came before. As has already been touched upon, The Dark Knight had a lot going for it. Firstly Heath Ledger's last "full" performance as The Joker, an iconic villain in the Batman universe. When it comes to Bane, some people just don't know who he is. There was also the "Why So Serious" viral marketing campaign, quite possibly the best marketing campaign you could have for a film, helped largely in part by using the Joker character. The only other film on the horizon that could have surpassed it was The Dark Knight Rises. Except it didn't. Personally I found the marketing on The Dark Knight Rises rather sombre. While there is the now expected quality associated with a Christopher Nolan film. I feel that going in, the only thing that The Dark Knight Rises had that was a little bit different, was that this would be the last one.
Kim Hollis: I'm sure that based on all of the replies above, we're going to get hate mail labeling us as Batman apologists and fanboys. However, the truth of the matter is that The Dark Knight Rises has indeed made a phenomenal amount of money and to label it a disappointment is just not fair or accurate. There are mitigating circumstances that prevent us from ever truly knowing what might have been. I do think, though, that it's impossible not to compare The Dark Knight Rises to its predecessor and The Avengers. Whether that's fair or not, it's just the way we look at these things. We often say that a movie buys the success of its successor, and if ever there was a movie that should have generated massive goodwill from audiences, The Dark Knight is it. Also, a lot of people really seemed invested in hoping that The Dark Knight Rises might beat The Avengers' opening, and it fell short in that department.
Reagen Sulewski: I definitely echo the sentiments that this is a film cursed by its own success. $289 million in ten days is a remarkable feat by any stretch, and yet we're sitting here wanting more. That's really a testament to how strong this franchise has been that we expect the moon of it. It was pretty clear that this summer belonged to The Avengers early on, however, and The Dark Knight Rises is also suffering in comparison to that.