In this forum, I have spent a lot of time demonstrating what The Dark Knight could do what The Dark Knight Rises has not. Today, I am going to flip the script a bit. Let’s talk about the one thing the latest Batman movie has managed that its predecessor did not. There will also be further good news about The Dark Knight Rises later in the column.
Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
August 7, 2012
On August 1, 2008, an instantly forgettable sequel called The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor debuted in first place. In the process, the (hopefully) final Mummy movie upended The Dark Knight, ending Batman 6’s 14-day run as the number one movie in North America. The following day, The Dark Knight was back in first place and it wound up winning the weekend box office as well.
On August 6th, 2008, The Dark Knight’s 20th day in theaters, two new releases debuted. In a shocking upset, a film with the title of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 managed to earn more revenue than Batman 6. Of course, this was not the real story of the day but instead a footnote. A stoner comedy called The Pineapple Express was also released into theaters; it became the number one film for the day, dropping The Dark Knight all the way down to third place. From that day forward, Batman 6 finished in first place for only three additional days.
The Dark Knight was the number one film in North America for 21 non-consecutive days with its longest streak being 14 straight days in first place. The Dark Knight Rises will at a minimum tie The Dark Knight for most days spent at the top of the box office, barring an unforeseen showing of strength by this Wednesday’s upcoming release, Hope Springs. The avenue in which The Dark Knight Rises will surpass its predecessor is consecutive days in first place.
Last Friday, The Dark Knight Rises repelled the first day of Total Recall in order to maintain its place at the top of the box office charts. This was Batman 7’s 15th consecutive day in first place. Given the obvious frontloading of Total Recall, the Colin Farrell movie will never finish in first place. The other new release last weekend, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, has too large a financial gap to challenge The Dark Knight Rises. As such, Hope Springs is the only title that can derail Batman 7 before Friday, all but assuring it a 21-day run in first place. Given everything that has transpired involving the movie, this is a long overdue bit of good news.
Yesterday, The Dark Knight Rises managed $4,725,498. This brings us to sunny point number two. After some absolutely horrible numbers from its first Saturday until its first Thursday and again largely disappointing weekdays last week, the movie has staged a bit of a recovery. Its 42% decline over the weekend was again indicative of an overestimation from Warner Bros. Even so, that’s a strong performance, all things considered. Part of the explanation for this is that it continues to have a stranglehold on IMAX theaters throughout the country, but let’s not quibble about the causality right now.
Instead, let’s focus on the positives. The Dark Knight Rises is now $6 million above the expected estimate I had mentioned three times recently. This is despite the fact that its weekdays were a million under projections. In other words, weekends are allowing The Dark Knight Rises to overcome its lackluster weekdays thus far, at least somewhat. I could even point to an extreme example wherein The Dark Knight Rises could feasibly reach $450 million or more.
While I do not recommend using comparisons as old as 2006, I would point out that The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest fits in terms of actual dollars with $62.3 million in its second weekend and $35.2 million in its third weekend. The numbers for The Dark Knight Rises are $62.1 million and $35.7 million. Over their first four weekdays, Dead Man’s Chest accrued $60.4 million while The Dark Knight Rises earned $64.1 million. In their second set of weekdays, Pirates managed $28.3 million while The Dark Knight Rises bested it with $31.1 million. I am sure you are questioning how good a comparison this could be, and I understand. This is why I have dismissed it thus far. The weekends match well but the weekdays do not.
Here is what I still want to demonstrate. After its $35.2 million third weekend, The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest had earned $321.9 million. Its final domestic take was $423.3 million, $101.4 million more. If The Dark Knight Rises could maintain similar momentum, a $454 million domestic run is still feasible. Given that Dead Man’s Chest earned $4.3 million on its 18th day, $400,000 less than The Dark Knight Rises, we can officially move Nolan’s final Batman movie off the worst case scenario charts.
The Dark Knight Rises will beat The Hunger Games and should manage $425 million, give or take a bit. Its $4.7 million yesterday is down only 42% from last Monday. With another $13.3 million from today until Thursday, The Dark Knight Rises should be around $370 million then and $390 million by Sunday, assuming it continues to mirror the weekend performance of Dead Man’s Chest. Given the early box office data, this is an impressive turn of events. Consumers have overcome their fear and returned to theaters.
With regards to the new titles, Total Recall accumulated $3,002,968 in box office revenue yesterday. Its grand total is now $28,580,726. Given the terrifying negative cost reports for this one ($200 million according to some), its international performance will need to be staggering to justify this financial outlay.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days managed $1,977,307 while claiming the second lowest Sunday-to-Monday drop in the top ten. As I mentioned in Monday Morning Quarterback, I do not understand the wisdom of releasing this title in August rather than June as its weekdays should have been like this for two months now. What’s clear is that the third Wimpy Kid movie’s current total of $16,600,906 is disappointing relative to the first two titles in the franchise thus far. We will have to wait and see whether Fox moves forward with a fourth title now.
Combined revenue for the top ten yesterday was $15.1 million. This is almost a draw with last Thursday’s $15.2 million. We are well short of last Monday’s $16.6 million and that trend will continue this week. Fortunately, a pair of (hopefully) strong performers is on the horizon on Friday with the debut of The Bourne Legacy and The Campaign. Either tomorrow or Thursday, I plan to compare weekday totals for the summer thus far.