Daily Box Office Analysis

By David Mumpower

July 25, 2012

He's looking at the man in the mirror.

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For the fifth consecutive day, The Dark Knight Rises was the number one film in North America. For the fourth consecutive day, the box office performance was discouraging. While Warner Bros. has handled the Aurora shooting tragedy marvelously with promises of donations, appearances and letters by people involved with the movie and further deft PR handling of an impossible situation, their tentpole title continues to struggle.

The Dark Knight Rises earned $17,762,472 million yesterday, a decline of 8% from Monday’s $19,389,129. It once again falls two full days behind the pace of The Dark Knight, which didn’t fall under $18 million until its seventh day in theaters. There is some upside today, though. The Dark Knight fell 15% from $24,493,313 on its first Monday to $20,868,722 on its first Tuesday. So, the final Christian Bale-as-Batman movie has held a tiny bit better than its immediate predecessor.

In terms of the big picture, however, the gap between the second and third Batman movies created by Christopher Nolan has expanded yet again. After five days, The Dark Knight had already earned $203,773,518 while The Dark Knight Rises is at $198,038,896. Much was made in 2008 of The Dark Knight reaching the $200 million mark in only five days. The Dark Knight whipped the existing record of eight days set by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.


Even now, The Dark Knight is tied for second fastest behind only The Avengers’ three-day total. Two other movies have matched the five days to $200 million mark. They are Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Only a few days ago, the question was not whether The Dark Knight Rises would join this group but instead whether it could surpass The Avengers. Instead, the latest Batman movie will require six days, which is good enough for sixth place all time but also undeniably a disappointment.

Disappointment may become the lingering theme of The Dark Knight Rises. During a recent evaluation of The Avengers, I had mentioned the difficulties that Nolan’s final Batman movie would face in meeting (ridiculously unrealistic) expectations. Some of you wrote in to let me know that I was being too harsh, but I felt strongly about the subject. We have witnessed this sort of scenario several times in the past as the final movie in a trilogy disappointed the general public.

I had hoped that Nolan, a sublime talent, could avoid such difficulties. Fate had other plans and now we will never be able to separate whether The Dark Knight Rises would have struggled on its own merits versus the real life tragedy tethered to it. And as I stated yesterday, I will not engage in that theoretical supposition. All I can say definitively is that The Dark Knight Rises is not pacing as it should relative to any reasonable expectation for a sequel to one of the seminal films of this generation.

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