The Dark Knight in a League of His Own
By John Hamann
July 27, 2008
The last seven days have been a historic time at the box office, with The Dark Knight crushing records on an almost daily basis. The Dark Knight's assault on the box office continued this weekend as a new flurry of records fell, most notably largest second weekend ever and fastest film to reach $300 million. In just ten days, The Dark Knight has earned a seemingly impossible $314.2 million - already making it the number 23 film of all time - and will most likely hold these records for many years to come. Two other films opened in the shadow of The Dark Knight - Step Brothers with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and X-Files: I Want To Believe, with one hitting and one flailing, but neither is the real story this weekend.
Before getting into how The Dark Knight performed over its second frame, let's have another look at its awesome performance over the last ten days, and try to understand the staggering show that's at play here. Last weekend, big box office records were set for opening day at $67.2 million, and opening weekend, which came in at $158.4 million, a full $3 million higher than the $155.3 million weekend estimate I reported on last weekend. The fact that it beat the estimate by such a large margin really defines what a box office behemoth The Dark Knight is, as all too often, estimates at opening weekend are over-inflated, not under-inflated. Despite the inflated estimate, I still thought The Dark Knight would settle down and behave like some of the other mega-earners we've seen in the past. As David Mumpower reported all this week, The Dark Knight barely flagged over its first weekdays. It had the fourth biggest Monday ever, and second biggest Tuesday ever (behind only the opening day of $300 million plus earner Transformers). TDK's Tuesday gross of $20.9 million pushed it over the $200 million mark, a feat accomplished in only five days. That's a full three days faster than the former triumvirate of box office gods (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Spider-Man 2). The Dark Knight had the biggest Wednesday for a film not enjoying its opening or second day of release, and its Thursday gross was the same.
Heading into this weekend, The Dark Knight had already earned $238.6 million, and would need a weekend total of only $61.4 million to have earned $300 million in ten days. The current record holder for fastest to $300 million is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which earned the fabled amount in 16 days, which would put this incarnation of Batman almost a full week ahead of history's fastest earner. This should literally be impossible.
Our number one film for the second straight weekend is The Dark Knight, the best thing that has happened to the movies since the first Spider-Man film, Titanic, or Tim Burton's first imagining of Batman. The Dark Knight set the record for biggest second weekend ever, earning a colossal $75.6 million from 4,366 venues (which set a record last weekend for breadth of release). The second weekend take for this version of The Dark Knight makes it the fastest film ever to reach $300 million, as it did it in ten days, a full six days faster than Jack Sparrow and his crew. The record for fastest to $400 million will also fall to The Dark Knight; that record is currently held by Shrek 2, which did it in 43 days, and that number will be shaved by at least ten days by the man in bat.