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

The Dark Knight Rises poster'The Dark Knight Rises' poster.

The Dark Knight Rises box office: $300 million milestone

Christopher Nolan's third and final installment in his Batman movie franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, raked in $8.77 million on Tuesday, July 31, at the North American box office. As a result, TDKR has passed the $300 million milestone domestically.

Aug. 1, '12, update: Starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, The Dark Knight Rises took twelve days to reach the $300 million mark.

Box office: Fastest to $300 million

For comparison's sake: with the assistance of 3D surcharges, Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers reached $300 million in a mere nine days. Though screening at fewer (more expensive) IMAX theaters and not taking inflation into account, Christian Bale / Heath Ledger's The Dark Knight reached that milestone in ten days as per data found at Box Office Mojo.

Without factoring in inflation, rounding out the top eleven movies (there are a few ties) on the “fastest to $300 million chart” are:

Note: If inflation is taken into account, one or more of the Sam Raimi / Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies would also be among the top ten.

Box office: The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight Rises is currently trailing the The Dark Knight by nearly $30 million. Their respective cumes are $304.04 million and $333.92 million. Adjusting for inflation – as one always should – the gap widens considerably, as The Dark Knight's box office take soars to $368.34 million. That would represent a $64 million difference, without taking into account the fact that TDK was screened at only 94 IMAX houses vs. TDKR's 330 venues.

See also: Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, and Anne Hathaway issue statements about the Colorado shooting massacre.

At the worldwide box office, The Dark Knight Rises passed the $500 million milestone this past weekend: the movie's cume to date is $552.24 million. (International totals up to July 29.)

Not including marketing / distribution expenses, The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost $250 million. The Dark Knight's budget was a reported $185 million.

Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan, in addition to Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Marion Cotillard, The Dark Knight Rises features Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman. Jonathan Nolan co-wrote the TDKR screenplay, which he said was inspired by Charles Dickens' classic novel of the French Revolution A Tale of Two Cities. (Gotham City could thus be seen as a sort of late 18th-century Paris…)

“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office: $300 Million Domestic” / Christian Bale Batman image: Warner Bros.

July 30

The Dark Knight Rises Batman 3 BatpodThe Dark Knight Rises weekend box office: $2 million less than estimated. (Image: Christian Bale / Batman Batpod.) Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises collected $62.1 million (down 61 percent) on its second weekend out in North America. That's approximately $2 million less than reported studio estimates released on Sunday.

For comparison's sake: In late July 2008, Nolan's The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, was down 52.5 percent on its second weekend in the U.S. and Canada, grossing $75.16 million.

Now, remember that The Dark Knight Rises earned a record-breaking (for a 2D movie) $30.6 million from Thursday midnight (July 19/20) screenings. Deducting the amount both films earned from midnight shows, TDKR was down 52.5 percent vs. The Dark Knight's down 47 percent. (The Dark Knight brought in a more modest $18.1 million on its midnight debut.)

Also worth noting, The Dark Knight Rises has fallen behind The Dark Knight in revenues – even without factoring in inflation. After ten days, The Dark Knight had pulled in $313.78 million vs. The Dark Knight Rises' $287.11 million.

The Dark Knight Rises $300 million milestone on Tuesday?

Barring a surprisingly small Sunday-to-Monday drop-off rate, it looks like The Dark Knight Rises will pass the $300 million milestone at the domestic box office only on Tuesday, Day 12. TDKR needs nearly $13 million to reach $300 million. Last Thursday, it grossed a little over that amount. Considering that its Sunday, July 29, take was $19.65 million, chances are its Monday gross will be closer to $10m-$11 million.

For comparison's sake: with the assistance of 3D surcharges, Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans / Robert Downey Jr' The Avengers reached $300 million in a mere nine days. The Dark Knight, though screening at fewer (pricier) IMAX theaters and not taking inflation into account, reached that mark in ten days.

Needless to say, The Dark Knight Rises' opening-weekend box office gross fell below expectations because of the Colorado shooting, which may have affected the film's ensuing daily grosses.

The Dark Knight Rises box office: Colorado shooting effect?

As I explain in my previous couple of The Dark Knight Rises box office posts (see further below), I still believe it would be precipitated to claim that the Colorado massacre was the reason – or even the chief reason – for this weekend's box office drop. Especially considering that said drop wasn't that much higher than The Dark Knight's if we deduct TDKR's opening-week's midnight screenings.

One should also take into account that TDKR had strong competition from the Olympics on Friday – and, really, throughout the weekend. The Dark Knight faced no such issue back in 2008.

Something else that's crucial: The Dark Knight Rises has failed to match The Dark Knight's overwhelming acclaim. “Batman 3” 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 slightly higher) 8.0/10 average for “Batman 2.” Also, if online commentaries are to be seen as valid samples of moviegoers' opinions, TDKR seems (this isn't a scientific study) to have generated weaker word-of-mouth than its predecessor.

As I've said before, I could be wrong. There are reports that approximately one in five potential U.S. moviegoers was reluctant to return to movie theaters this past weekend. The question is: how reliable are those surveys?

The good news for Warner Bros.: The Dark Knight Rises has already crossed the $500 million milestone at the worldwide box office: its cume to date is $537.28 million.

Not including marketing / distribution expenses, The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost $250m; The Dark Knight's budget was a reported $185 million.

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

Christian Bale Batman Batpod image: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

July 29

Catwoman The Dark Knight Rises Anne HathawayThe Dark Knight box office: $500 million worldwide after ten 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 trailed The Dark Knight by a wide margin: Nolan's “Batman 2” movie brought in $158.41 million in summer 2008 – or approximately $174.7 million today.

Currently, The Dark Knight Rises has fallen behind The Dark Knight both in ticket sales and unadjusted grosses. After ten days, The Dark Knight had pulled in $313.78 million vs. The Dark Knight Rises' estimated $289.08 million.

Needless to say, The Dark Knight Rises' opening-weekend box office gross fell quite a bit below expectations because of the Colorado shooting. At a Friday post-midnight screening in the Denver suburb of Aurora, a gunman killed 12 people and injured nearly 60 others.

The Dark Knight Rises box office: Colorado shooting effect?

As I mentioned in my previous The Dark Knight Rises post, I still believe it would be precipitated to claim that the Colorado massacre was the reason – or even the chief reason – for this weekend's box office drop, which, really, wasn't that much higher than that for The Dark Knight (if we deduct last week's midnight screenings; see above).

And besides, TDKR had strong competition from the Olympics on Friday – and throughout the weekend. The Dark Knight faced no such issues back in 2008. Also, The Dark Knight Rises has failed to match The Dark Knight's overwhelming acclaim. 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 slightly higher) 8.0/10 average for “Batman 2.”

As I've said before, I could be wrong. There are reports that approximately one in five potential moviegoers was reluctant to return to movie theaters this weekend. But once again: the level of trustworthiness of those surveys is highly debatable.

The Dark Knight Rises: $500+ Million Worldwide

The good news: The Dark Knight Rises has already crossed the $500 million milestone at the worldwide box office: its cume to date is $537.28 million. (More details to be found in my upcoming TDKR international box office post.)

Not including marketing / distribution expenses, The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost $250m; The Dark Knight's budget was a reported $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, which he claimed was inspired by Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

Catwoman Anne Hathaway The Dark Knight Rises image: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

July 28 afternoon

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.

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

  • Michael Bay / Shia LaBeouf / Megan Fox's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 14 days.
  • James Cameron / Sam Worthington / Zoe Saldana / Sigourney Weaver's Avatar in 15 days.
  • David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 15 days.
  • Gore Verbinski / Johnny Depp / Orlando Bloom / Keira Knightley's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in 16 days.
  • Gary Ross / Jennifer Lawrence / Liam Hemsworth / Josh Hutcherson's The Hunger Games in 17 days.
  • George Lucas / Ewan McGregor / Hayden Christensen / Natalie Portman's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in 17 days.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

July 28 early morning

The Dark Knight Rises box office Bane Occupy GothamThe Dark Knight Rises box office plummets on second weekend? (Image: Bane Tom Hardy.) Back in July 2008, Christopher Nolan's “Batman 2” movie, The Dark Knight, was down 52.5 percent on its second weekend, collecting $75.16 million. On its second weekend out, The Dark Knight Rises is expected to earn around $66-67 million, down 58 percent. Why the sharp drop? The Aurora, Colorado, massacre?

As per Deadline.com's early, rough estimates, The Dark Knight Rises grossed $20.1 million on Friday, July 27. That's a steep drop compared to the previous Friday's $75.75 million – until you remember that last week's Friday figures included about $30.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings – a record for a 2D movie. (The Dark Knight earned a much more modest $18.1m.) Excluding the midnight shows, The Dark Knight Rises would be down a not unacceptable down 54.5 percent (in case this weekend's early estimates are indeed accurate).

The Dark Knight Rises $300 million milestone on Monday

And if Deadline's estimates are on target, The Dark Knight Rises will pass the $300 million milestone at the domestic box office only on Monday, Day 11. 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.

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.

Undeniably, The Dark Knight Rises' weekend box office take fell short of expectations because of the Colorado shooting. At a Friday midnight screening in the Denver suburb of Aurora, a deranged gunman killed 12 people and injured nearly 60 others. This weekend, however, I believe it would be precipitated to claim that the shooting was the reason – or even the chief reason – for the box office drop. I could be wrong, of course, as there are reports that some moviegoers are reluctant to return to movie theaters.

The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost a whopping $250 million. The Dark Knight's price tag was reportedly $185 million. Neither amount includes marketing / distribution expenses.

The Dark Knight Rises cast

Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, in addition to Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Modine, and Tom Conti.

Also, Josh Pence, Juno Temple, Daniel Sunjata, Nestor Carbonell, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Adam Rodriguez, Josh Stewart, Christopher Judge, and Aidan Gillen. Jonathan Nolan co-wrote the Dark Knight Rises screenplay, which he has explained was inspired by Charles Dickens' classic novel of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities.

Box office: Step Up Revolution, The Watch disappoint

Opening this weekend: Scott Speer's Step Up Revolution should end up with a so-so $13.2 million for the weekend after collecting $5.5 million on Friday. That isn't exactly great news for the Summit/Lionsgate release that cost a reported $33 million.

Faring only a notch better overall, but much worse in terms of budget/box-office ratio is Akiva Schaffer's The Watch. The $68 million comedy starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn is expected to score $14 million by Sunday evening after earnings of $4.8 million on Friday. Thus, The Watch will become the second major box office disappointment in a row for both Stiller and Vaughn: Stiller's previous underperformer was Brett Ratner's Tower Heist; Vaughn's was Ron Howard's The Dilemma.

“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Box Office Plummets?” / Bane Tom Hardy picture: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

July 27

Anne Hathaway The Dark Knight Rises box office Selina KyleThe Dark Knight Rises box office passes $200 million milestone. (Image: Anne Hathaway Selina Kyle.) Christopher Nolan's third and final installment in his Batman film trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises passed the $200 million milestone at the domestic box office on its sixth day out, Wednesday, July 25. After adding $13.77 million that day, TDKR's cume reached $211.8 million.

The Dark Knight Rises no. 6: Fastest to $200m

The Dark Knight Rises' six-day take of $200m+ is impressive, especially considering the tragic circumstances surrounding the film's release. Yet, six days to $200 million is hardly a record, even for a 2D movie. Ahead of Nolan's “Batman 3” movie are Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers, which reached $200 million in three days (with the assistance of 3D surcharges), plus Nolan's own The Dark Knight, David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and Michael Bay / Shia LaBeouf / Megan Fox's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The last three movies passed the $200 million milestone after five days.

Last weekend, The Dark Knight Rises grossed $160.88 million at 4,404 North American theaters, officially boasting the biggest opening weekend for a 2D release. In terms of ticket sales, however, TDKR clearly trailed The Dark Knight, which raked in $158.41 million in late July 2008 – or approximately $174.7 million today.

The Dark Knight Rises' weekend take fell below expectations because of the Colorado shooting. At a Friday midnight screening in the Denver suburb of Aurora, a gunman killed 12 people and injured nearly 60 others.

The Dark Knight Rises international box office

Overseas, The Dark Knight Rises has collected another (estimated) $125.3 million. TDKR's worldwide total stands at $337.1 million. Its top territories up to Sunday, July 22, are the United Kingdom with $22.73 million, Australia with $15.67 million, Spain with $4.19 million, and India with $4.09 million.

The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost a whopping $250 million. The Dark Knight's price tag was reportedly $185 million. Neither amount includes marketing / distribution expenses.

Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, in addition to Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Modine, and Tom Conti.

Also, Josh Pence, Juno Temple, Daniel Sunjata, Nestor Carbonell, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Adam Rodriguez, Josh Stewart, Christopher Judge, and Aidan Gillen. Jonathan Nolan co-wrote the Dark Knight Rises screenplay, which he said was inspired by Charles Dickens' classic novel of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities.

Anne Hathaway Selina Kyle picture: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

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

  1. Greenlite

    It's 87% overall on RT

  2. Bryant Burnette

    There is virtually no doubt in my mind that the shootings are the primary factor behind the precipitous drop in box-office. I don't think it has kept hardcore moviegoers away, but more casual moviegoers seem to have opted to find a different way to spend their time.

    The result of this, I think, is that overall box-office is about to go into a major decline over the course of the next few months. It won't come out of that slump until “Skyfall” and “Breaking Dawn Part 2” come out in November. If THOSE titles underperform to any serious degree, then the entire industry is in trouble.

  3. jeff

    Dark knight had joker. Also heath ledger died