'The Dark Knight Rises' Box Office: Why Sharp Drop?

The Dark Knight Rises box office Morgan Freeman Lucius FoxThe Dark Knight Rises box office: what sharp second-weekend drop? (Image: Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.) Just yesterday, nearly every movie blogger and box office analyst was discussing how Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises had plummeted on its second Friday out and would perform much more poorly than its predecessor, The Dark Knight, on its second weekend at the North American box office. How wrong we all were. Well, at least to some extent.

The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Dark Knight second-weekend box office

In late July 2008, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was down 65.5 percent on its second Friday out and down 52.5 percent on its second weekend in the U.S. and Canada, collecting $75.16 million from Fri-Sun. On its second Friday out, The Dark Knight Rises tumbled 76 percent, but recovered a good chunk of lost ground on the weekend proper, earning an estimated $64.01 million over the three-day period. That's about $6-9 million more than early Saturday estimates indicated.

If studio estimates are accurate, The Dark Knight Rises was down 60 percent compared to the previous weekend, but a much less steep 51 percent if we deduct the film's record-breaking (for a 2D movie) $30.6m from Thursday midnight (July 19/20) screenings. For comparison's sake: The Dark Knight earned a considerably more modest $18.1 million from midnight screenings. Deducting that amount, the movie was down 47 percent on its second weekend. In other words, there isn't a wide gap between the two Batman movies' drop-off rates.

The Dark Knight Rises $300 million milestone: Monday or Tuesday?

At this stage, it's unclear whether The Dark Knight Rises will pass the $300 million milestone at the domestic box office on Monday, Day 11, or Tuesday, Day 12. Nolan's film needs nearly $11 million to reach $300 million. Last Thursday, it grossed a little over $13 million. So, it all depends on two things: a) if studio estimates are correct b) if TDKR will manage to maintain its weekday box office take from late last week.

For comparison's sake: Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers, with the assistance of 3D surcharges, reached the $300 million milestone in nine days. Christian Bale / Heath Ledger's The Dark Knight, at fewer (pricier) IMAX theaters and not taking inflation into account, reached that mark in ten days. [Check out The Dark Knight Rises Box Office: $200 million After Six Days.]

Not taking inflation into account, the next three movies on the “fastest to $300 million chart” are the following:

“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office: What Sharp Drop?” continues on the next page. See link below.

“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office: What Sharp Drop?” / Morgan Freeman Lucius Fox image: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

Previous post

Marion Cotillard The Dark Knight Rises Miranda TateThe Dark Knight Rises box office down sharply on Friday. (Image: Marion Cotillard Miranda Tate.) In late July 2008, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was down 65.5 percent on its second Friday out and down 52.5 percent on its second weekend, collecting $75.16 million from Fri-Sun. On its second Friday out, The Dark Knight Rises plummeted 76 percent, and should earn around $55-58 million (about $8-12 million less than late-night Friday estimates indicated) over the weekend.

Taking the lowest figure, that would represent a down 65.5 percent weekend-to-weekend tumble. Why the sharp drop? The Colorado shooting? The London Olympics? Both?

First of all, remember that The Dark Knight Rises' $75.75 million take on Friday, July 20, included a record-breaking (for a 2D movie) $30.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings. Excluding the midnight shows, TDKR would be down a still steep but considerably less dramatic down 60 percent on its second Friday out. [See also: The Dark Knight Rises midnight box office record.]

For comparison's sake: The Dark Knight earned a much more modest $18.1 million from midnight shows. Deducting that amount, Nolan's “Batman 2” movie was down 47 percent. Now, bear in mind that The Dark Knight faced no competition from the Beijing Olympics on it second weekend out. The 2008 Olympics kicked off on August 8 – the film's fourth weekend – and at a less convenient time zone for American and Canadian television watchers.

The Dark Knight Rises $300 million milestone on Tuesday

At this stage, it looks like The Dark Knight Rises will pass the $300 million milestone at the domestic box office only on Tuesday, Day 12 – one day later than early Friday estimates indicated. The Avengers, with the assistance of 3D surcharges, reached that milestone in nine days; The Dark Knight, at fewer (costlier) IMAX theaters and not taking inflation into account, reached that mark in ten days.

Not taking inflation into account, the next three movies on the “fastest to $300 million chart” are Michael Bay / Shia LaBeouf / Megan Fox's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 14 days, James Cameron / Sam Worthington / Sigourney Weaver's Avatar in 15 days, and David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 also in 15 days. [See also: The Dark Knight Rises Box Office: $200 million After Six Days.]

Last weekend, The Dark Knight Rises grossed $160.88 million at 4,404 North American theaters, officially breaking the record for the biggest opening weekend for a 2D release. But when it comes to ticket sales, TDKR clearly trailed The Dark Knight, which scored $158.41 million in summer 2008 – or approximately $174.7 million today. Now The Dark Knight Rises is trailing The Dark Knight both in ticket sales and unadjusted grosses. After eight days, The Dark Knight had raked in $261.84 million vs. The Dark Knight Rises' estimated $243.01 million.

Undeniably, TDKR's opening-weekend box office take fell below expectations because of the Colorado shooting. At a Friday midnight screening in the Denver suburb of Aurora, a mad gunman killed 12 people and injured nearly 60 others. [See also: Christopher Nolan statement on behalf of The Dark Knight Rises' cast and crew, and Christian Bale statement and Anne Hathaway statement regarding the shooting.]

The Dark Knight Rises box office: Colorado shooting effect?

This weekend, especially regarding the steep Friday tumble, I still believe it would be precipitated to claim that the Colorado massacre was the reason – or even the chief reason – for the box office drop. There was/is strong competition from the Olympics and The Dark Knight Rises has failed to match the overwhelming acclaim of its predecessor. Nolan's “Batman 3” movie currently has a 77 percent approval rating and 7.9/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics vs. a 91 percent approval rating and (a, admittedly, only slightly higher) 8.0/10 average for “Batman 2.”

I could be wrong, of course, as there are reports that approximately one in five potential moviegoers is reluctant to return to movie theaters this weekend. How trustworthy those surveys are, however, is highly debatable.

Not including marketing / distribution expenses, The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost $250m; The Dark Knight $185 million.

Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman. Jonathan Nolan co-wrote the screenplay, inspired by Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office: Sharp Friday Drop?” / Marion Cotillard Miranda Tate picture: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

If you liked the article 'The Dark Knight Rises' Box Office: Why Sharp Drop?, please recommend it to your friends. See floating share buttons on the left.
Follow Alt Film Guide on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, and/or join the FB group All About Movies.
'The Dark Knight Rises' Box Office: Why Sharp Drop? © 2004-2015 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Continue Reading: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office: $500 Million Worldwide

Previous Post: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office Plummets?


Click on 'Load Comments' to leave a comment and/or read previous comments about 'The Dark Knight Rises' Box Office: Why Sharp Drop?.

Important: Different views and opinions are perfectly fine, but courtesy and respect are imperative. Abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), and/or trollish/inflammatory comments will be blocked and offenders may be banned.

Note: You don't need to log in to comment. Just click on the "Name" field and the option to comment as a “guest” will appear. But you do need to fill in your name and email.