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Top 12 Film Industry Stories of 2008:
#1: The Dark Knight. Duh.

By David Mumpower

January 15, 2009

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The numbers speak for themselves. The Dark Knight wound up with an opening weekend of $158,411,483, breaking by $7.3 million the prior record set by Spider-Man 3 in 2007. Shockingly, the movie never slowed down from its July 18, 2008 release date until the end of that month. It was the number one film every day of release, never slipping out of first place until August 1st, and even that was temporary. In total, The Dark Knight was the first choice of North American consumers on 21 out of its first 26 days in release. Even more remarkably, it managed box office of at least $10 million on each of its first 11 days. It had revenue of $333,929,159 by the time it showed any signs of slowing down. That number was already good enough to make The Dark Knight the number one film of 2008. Of course, it didn't stop there.

Here are some fun trivia notes about The Dark Knight's box office run. It has the biggest Friday of all time, the biggest Sunday of all time, and the first trio of $40+ million consecutive days ever. It has the biggest non-holiday Monday ever, it is the fastest film to $100 million ever (beating Spider-Man 3 and Dead Man's Chest in terms of total 2-day volume), it is the fastest film to $200 million ever, it is the fastest film to $300 million ever, it is the fastest film to $400 million ever and - wait for it - it is the fastest film to $500 million ever. What's a phrase beyond cha-ching?

Of course, the biggest story of the summer, one I wound up documenting in BOP's Daily Numbers Analysis, was the chase to beat Titanic. That, of course, proved to be the only unsuccessful aspect of The Dark Knight's release. While it only needed 45 days to get to $500 million as opposed to the 98 days Titanic required, box office simply behaves too differently in 2008 relative to 1997 for a movie to hold that well that long. The Dark Knight's last day in the box office top ten came on September 25th, its 70th day in theaters. At that time, it had domestic receipts of $522,810,263. In the interim, the Batman movie has crept up to just over $531 million worth of box office, leaving it $69 million short of Titanic.




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For a while, the more hopeful fans of The Dark Knight kept pointing to an expected Academy Awards season push for the film as a way to attain the required box office to get the film to the top of the box office heap. Alas, it's become clear in recent weeks that there isn't the amount of demand needed to pull off that sort of feat, particularly not with the film already available (and tearing up the charts) on home video. The Dark Knight has already earned another $280 million through DVD and Blu Ray sales, making it the most lucrative performer of 2008 in that venue as well, despite the fact that its release did not occur until December 9th. Given all of this information, it's readily apparent why the staff at Box Office Prophets has named The Dark Knight the Biggest Film Industry Story of 2008.

The Dark Knight earned $531 million. Duh.


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