Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
August 1, 2012
Today’s box office discussion will focus upon some of the other stories in the top ten. At least, it will after we get the obvious conversations out of the way.
The Dark Knight Rises continued to perform as expected on weekdays by earning $8,773,116 on Tuesday. This is an 8% increase from Monday’s $8,160,046. As anticipated, The Dark Knight Rises broke $300 million on its 12th day in theaters, thereby becoming the third fastest movie of all time to this landmark. It now has a running total of $304,045,972.
The best aspect of reaching $300 million on the 12th day is that Batman 7 had been tied with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for fastest to $250 million. It reached the next plateau two days before the latter film and three days before the former. Then again, the final Potter film was as epically frontloaded as any movie we have ever seen while the release pattern of Transformers 3 was specifically designed to accumulate as much money as possible upfront.
Given that Potter 8 finished with $381,011,219 while Transformers 3 earned $402,111,870 domestically, The Dark Knight Rises needs to outpace those films by a great deal to reach the lofty totals expected of it. Obviously, this will not happen. The tragedy of Aurora, Colorado has savaged its final domestic box office potential. The Dark Knight Rises should still become the third fastest movie to $350 million on Saturday, edging out Avatar by one day, 16 to 17. After that, its tales of glory end.
The second place film on Tuesday, Ice Age: Continental Drift, is a title I want to discuss in more detail. I had promised last month that I would chronicle the worldwide revenue of more titles this summer. This has become a subject of tremendous intrigue over the past few years as corporations plan to offset any domestic cost expenditures by broadening their international marketplace. More customers mean more money. Yes, this is obvious but the purpose here is not to overthink the situation but rather understand it better.
As always, I would caution readers to avoid the inference that foreign dollars mean the same as domestic ones. They do not in the least. Edward Jay Epstein once researched the matter and determined that Hollywood studios only retained 15% of overseas ticket sales. The number has improved in recent years but I still caution you that whenever you think about international grosses, you should divide that total by five in order to understand the true profit involved. And since this question inevitably comes up during these conversations: No, I am not speaking of the split between a distributor and an exhibitor. I mean the actual capital return on gross revenue.
Ice Age as a franchise is the extreme example of overseas box office. The first title, cleverly named Ice Age, earned $383.4 million, with 46% of that revenue attained domestically. Ice Age: The Meltdown continued further down the path with 30% of its $652.3 million coming from domestic box office. Believe it or not, the skew grows worse from there. Only 22% (!) of the third film's massive global take of $890.4 million came from North America.