Daily Box Office Analysis for July 21, 2008

By David Mumpower

July 22, 2008

Doesn't he look like a puppy in a car here? A filthy-haired, homicidal puppy.

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Equally impressive is the thought that the latest Batman movie has already surpassed all three of these titles in terms of total box office after only three days. In fact, the latest Batman title is already the number six movie of the year and will pass Hancock and WALL-E to enter the top four at some point this afternoon. It will pass Kung Fu Panda's current total of $206,898,748 by either tonight or the first exhibitions tomorrow for third place.

Of course, if you are looking at the totals at the most recent totals for Hancock and WALL-E, you are probably a bit confused as to how this has happened so fast. After Saturday, The Dark Knight's box office was at $114,815,332. Movies are supposed to slow down 25% on Sunday and then fall off another 50% on Monday. This is especially true of larger scale releases. Consider that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest fell 20.4% on its first Sunday to 35,360,729 then fell another 48.7% on Monday to $18,140,271. That was a solid performance. Spider-Man 3, a film that was released prior to kids being out of school for the summer, fell 22.2% to $39,937,865 on Sunday then had a 74.3% drop on its first Monday (a school day) to $10,285,268. Even the leggiest film in recent memory, Shrek 2, fell 22.1% to $34,900,541 on its first Sunday then declined 67.0% to $11,512,000 on its first Monday. This is how the system is supposed to work. Someone needs to tell The Dark Knight this, because it's blowing the curve.

On Sunday, the sequel to Batman Begins fell only 8.5% to $43,596,151. This is an "I did a double-take" type of number. In addition to claiming the biggest opening day performance ever, The Dark Knight now holds the record for biggest Sunday ever...by $3,658,286. It is also the only opening weekend title to have three consecutive $40+ million days, which is a pretty big deal when we consider that there have only been 18 of those in history. What we have gleaned from this data is that there has been no indication to date that the demand for The Dark Knight is starting to slow down. A record-setting Sunday disproves any notion of frontloading, at least thus far. In tracking daily numbers, what we will be examining is any tell-tale sign of slippage such as the one last week that let us know Hellboy II wouldn't around for long or the one a few weeks ago that showed The Incredible Hulk wasn't going to do any better than The Hulk did.

We did not get any such sign yesterday.


The Dark Knight earned $24,493,313 on Monday, the biggest non-holiday inflated Monday ever. It is also the fourth largest Monday overall behind a couple of Memorial Day releases (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) and a July 5th showing of Spider-Man 2. Those of you who have been reading this column all summer may remember a statement I made a while ago about how to gauge the strength of weekday box office. The exact quote was, "Anything over $20 million is pretty strong." The Dark Knight's Monday revenue total individually surpasses all but four combined top ten weekdays this entire summer. Folks, that's scorching. The comic book adaptation is down only 43.8% from Sunday's record-setting total. I'm going to run out of superlatives quite quickly as I attempt to keep this in perspective. Long story short, it should have fallen a lot more yesterday and it should have dropped leaps and bounds more on Sunday.

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