Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
July 30, 2012
Samuel Hoelker: When I saw Friday's numbers, my heart sank, and when I saw the weekend estimates, I was very surprised. Like everyone else, I have Nolan's franchise on a pedestal above any other superhero franchise. While The Avengers was fun, and most of the Marvel films not starring Edward Norton were cromulent at the very least, these films do much more. I never thought The Dark Knight Rises would beat Avengers, and it's a shame that it won't, but I think we should still be content that we have an excellent, mostly satisfying conclusion to one of the more unique franchises of the decade. And in the end, it'll be what's more remembered in film history, for better and for worse.
Edwin Davies: For pretty much any movie, nearly $300 million in ten days is pretty spectacular, and I would say that it's still pretty good for The Dark Knight Rises, even taking all the other events surrounding it out of the equation.
One of the key areas of discussion leading up to the release of the film - and this is something that we have touched on in MMQBs in the past - was whether or not The Dark Knight represented an anomaly because of the perfect storm created around its release by the untimely and tragic death of Heath Ledger, but also from the fact that it pitted Batman against his greatest and most iconic foe. Before Aurora, before the actual opening weekend, this was the main point of contention; without as powerful a villain as the Joker, and the accompanying media storm, could The Dark Knight Rises ever hope to top its predecessor? I was always very optimistic on this point and thought that it might, but there always remained the possibility that it wouldn't, and that even the sequel effect would not be enough to help it to ultimately outgross The Dark Knight, even if it started stronger.
Since I had that potential outcome in the back of my mind, this result does not strike me as particularly disastrous relatively to expectations, since even great sequels have sometimes failed to outperform the films they followed. Case in point; Spider-Man 2 made $30 million less than Spider-Man, even though the first film was beloved and the second was generally considered to be even better. Obviously the numbers we are dealing with here are far bigger and the circumstances are more extreme, so the final difference between the two films could be as much as $100 million or more, but even so, I don't think anyone is going to walk away thinking of The Dark Knight Rises as a disaster, so much as a missed opportunity caused by an event that no one could have foreseen.
Jim Van Nest: I think Edwin nailed this one. The expectations set were unrealistic. There was a "perfect storm" surrounding Dark Knight that didn't accompany Rises. Ledger's death was a part of that, but I really think that the Joker character was a larger part of it. A film doesn't make the kind of money Dark Knight did by catering to comic book guys and fanboys, it has to have a much larger appeal. Everyone from five-year-olds to grannies know who Joker is. I don't think you can say the same for Bane. And while he may be a more desirable villain to the fanboys, to the masses, he's a dude wearing a funny mask. I think the $287 million over ten days is phenomenal and folks probably shouldn't have expected so much from it.