Weekend Forecast for July 27-29, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
July 26, 2012
In 3D again because why not, Revolution will hope to stop the slight decline in opening weekends in the series. While the first opened to just over $20 million in 2006, the most recent started with just under $16 million, which accounting for inflation and 3D tickets, is a pretty major decline. No doubt not having any recognizable names in the cast outside of dance fanatics isn't helping. Even Channing Tatum had a couple of titles to his name before the first Step Up film. I don't think that decline will stop here, and about $15 million seems likely.
So to get it out of the way, yes, the opening weekend total of The Dark Knight Rises was almost certainly affected by the shootings in Colorado, though of course that's irrelevant compared to the human cost. Still, the show must go on.
There's been some question as to whether people who changed their mind about seeing the film on opening weekend would just shift their viewing to another weekend – and while there might be some people for whom that's the case, typically what happens is that those are simply lost opportunities for the film. Lost time in a weekend can't be earned back later barring some kind of holiday period. Thus, the $160 million (the third highest total ever, so hardly a disappointment) becomes the new baseline for the film. The most recent analogy for Rises might be last year's end-of-a-series film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which jumped out to a huge $169 million opening, and then promptly fell away by almost three-quarters for its second weekend. That's a bit of an extreme example, and The Dark Knight Rises doesn't have quite the finality of Harry Potter, but I also believe there was some rush to see how Chris Nolan was ending this series. A drop by more than half seems assured, and significantly more than that isn't crazy to expect either. The generally favorable word-of-mouth doesn't hurt, but it's probably not a big factor in this case, with how amped people would have been to see this film right away. I look for a second weekend of around $69 million, or a little less than The Dark Knight earned in its second weekend.
Just about everything suffered last weekend, with only two films in the top ten not falling by more than half – Brave and To Rome With Love. To me, this shows that it was an across the board effect from the Colorado incident (there was zero reason for Batman to hurt, Ted, Brave, or Moonrise Kingdom), but again, this tends to be a permanent effect on films. So Ice Age: Continental Drift may bounce back a bit, but not dramatically so. It should earn around $11 million in its third weekend, which will put it well behind the pace of the other three films in the series. This might top it out at $150 million domestic or less, though the international take remains the key here.
Ted should come back up to around $7 million this weekend after dropping nearly in half in its fourth weekend, though its (positive) fate is already sealed. The little foul-mouthed comedy that could is on its way to around $220 million total.
Meanwhile, The Amazing Spider-Man might fall below $5 million in a weekend by just its fourth, which is a pretty stunning turn of events. $250 million might be a struggle now for its total, which isn't going to leave the film in a loss position long term, but is definitely a hit for the franchise.