Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
July 26, 2012
Seven days ago at this time, we all anxiously anticipated the imminent debut of The Dark Knight Rises at midnight. Those were happier times. For the sixth consecutive day, the final Batman movie directed by Christopher Nolan finished in first place. Yet again, its actual box office tally was a disappointment. Since my options are either to talk about this or Chick fil-A’s social policies, however, the choice is clear.
Yes, The Dark Knight Rises finished at the top of the North American box office on Wednesday with revenue in the amount of $13,770,092. Yes, this is a head-scratching amount. Batman 7 (Adrian’s Revenge) fell 22% from Tuesday, and it now has a domestic total of $211,808,988. The inevitable follow-up sentence is that The Dark Knight earned 33% more, $13,770,092, on its first Wednesday in release. The Dark Knight also held better from its first Tuesday (a 12% decline) and had accumulated $222,150,806, over $10 million more than its successor.
We all know the rules about sequels. They are supposed to perform stronger over the first few days then demonstrate worse box office legs. The Dark Knight Rises has failed to match The Dark Knight on five out of six days and it is really six out of six if we remove Thursday midnight exhibitions from the conversation. Is a direct comparison of the second and third Nolan-directed Batman movies fair? I would have said absolutely up until this week. Now, I’m forced to reconsider because if this is the only measuring stick used for The Dark Knight Rises, it’s shorter than The Penguin.
I feel guilty shouting “Doom!” so often without at least adding “Legion of” beforehand. This is the point where I should stress that by any reasonable standard of box office dominance, The Dark Knight Rises is performing admirably. Few summer releases in box office history can claim six consecutive $10+ million days and many of those are July 4th holiday titles. And as I referenced as an inevitability yesterday, The Dark Knight Rises became the sixth fastest film to $200 million yesterday, accomplishing the feat in a mere six days. These are all huge positives.
The negative is that when The Avengers was released into theaters, the ongoing debate centered upon how well The Dark Knight Rises would match up in terms of opening weekend and even final box office. I stated my belief at the time that simply matching (or even coming close) to The Dark Knight would be quite a feat. Any time a movie is automatically dismissed as a disappointment if it does not become a $500 million performer, it is set up to fail. The list of movies that have reached this landmark is: Avatar, Titanic, The Avengers and The Dark Knight.
At this point, The Dark Knight Rises appears unlikely to join them. At the risk of shouting “Doom!” again, $400 million isn’t even a slam dunk at this point although that is absolutely the worst case scenario. A lot depends on how much the film increases from Thursday to Friday. And we cannot judge that until we know Thursday totals. For now, all I will reiterate is that The Dark Knight Rises is trending down in a manner its predecessor never did.
With regards to the rest of the top ten, there is one major milestone occurring today. Ice Age: Continental Draft will surpass $100 million in its 14th day of release. This is four days slower than Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs managed, although that title had a Wednesday release that inflated its early box office somewhat. Ice Age: The Meltdown earned $100 million in nine days while the original Ice Age required the longest amount of days at 15.
Overall, the news is grim on Wednesday. Only four films earned north of $1 million. Combined revenue for the top ten was $22.3 million, a stiff 23% drop from Tuesday’s $28.9 million. The Dark Knight Rises comprises most of the box office during the week so its drop is directly impacting the overall top ten.