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.

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The Dark Knight

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 Mamma Mia! and even Space Chimps 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.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 The Dark Knight 158.4
2 Mamma Mia! 28.1
3 Hancock 13.9
4 Journey to the Center of the Earth 11.4
5 Hellboy II: The Golden Army 9.6
6 WALL-E 9.6
7 Space Chimps 7.9
8 Wanted 4.8
9 Get Smart 3.8
10 Meet Dave 1.6



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