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'The Dark Knight Rises' Opens Millions Below Estimates

The Dark Knight Rises box office Bane Batman'The Dark Knight Rises.'

The Dark Knight Rises weekend box office grosses

July 23, '12, update: Overall, the North American box office was clearly affected by the early Friday, July 20, shooting rampage at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, a suburb of Denver; a mad gunman killed 12 people and injured 60 others. This past weekend, only two among the top twelve movies had drop-off rates below 50 percent; the previous weekend, only one among the movies on the top-twelve chart had a drop-off rate above 50 percent.

The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman movie, grossed $160.88 million at 4,404 North American theaters over the July 20–22, '12, weekend. That figure includes $30.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings. That's about $20m-$25 million less than early Friday box office estimates indicated, and nearly $10 million less than late Friday/Saturday estimates indicated.

Following the Colorado tragedy, The Dark Knight Rises distributor Warner Bros. announced it wasn't going to release box office figures over the weekend. Every major Hollywood studio and the box office tracking organization Rentrak followed suit. However, on Sunday “box-office insiders” were predicting that TDKR would end up grossing between $160–$162 million.

See also: Christopher Nolan statement on behalf of The Dark Knight Rises' cast and crew.

The Dark Knight Rises weekend box office: 2D record gross, but not ticket sales

The Dark Knight Rises is now officially third among the biggest opening weekends ever in the U.S. and Canada, trailing only Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers' $207.43 million and David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's $169.18 million. Note that three of the five highest-grossing opening weekends in North America are 2012 releases: in addition to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, there's Gary Ross / Jennifer Lawrence / Josh Hutcherson / Liam Hemsworth's The Hunger Games at no. 4.

Since both The Avengers and Deathly Hallows 2 are 3D productions, The Dark Knight Rises has been proclaimed the 2D movie champ when it comes to opening weekends at the domestic box office. The previous 2D champ was Christopher Nolan's own “Batman 2” movie, The Dark Knight. Starring Christian Bale and the then-recently deceased Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight brought in $158.41 million in late July 2008.

Now, box office charts that don't take inflation into account are all but useless. If inflation is factored in (to better reflect actual ticket sales), The Dark Knight easily remains no. 1: the film's $158.41 million debut-weekend gross would be approximately $174.7 million today.

In other words, back in summer 2008, The Dark Knight sold many more tickets than The Dark Knight Rises – even without accounting for TDKR's IMAX surcharges. Bear in mind that The Dark Knight Rises earned $19 million from 332 IMAX houses; The Dark Knight opened at only 94 IMAX locations.

The Dark Knight Rises budget, international gross

The Dark Knight Rises reportedly cost a whopping $250m; The Dark Knight's price tag was reportedly $185 million.

Also worth noting, The Dark Knight Rises raked in another (estimated) $88 million in 17 international territories. TDKR's worldwide total stands at $248.88 million.

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 the mad terrorist Bane, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, plus Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Modine.

Also, Tom Conti, 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 TDKR screenplay, which he said was inspired by Charles Dickens' novel of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities.

“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Weekend Box Office” / Tom Hardy as Bane, Christian Bale as Batman picture: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

The Amazing Spider-Man box office Andrew Garfield Peter ParkerThe Amazing Spider-Man plummets; The Dark Knight Rises shooting impacts North American box office. (Image: Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man.) It's clear that the Dark Knight Rises shooting that took place early Friday in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado, negatively affected box office receipts across the United States (and possibly Canada as well). On the domestic top-twelve box office chart, only two movies – Pixar / Disney's Brave and Woody Allen's To Rome with Love – were down less than 50 percent. Last weekend, only one movie was down more than 50 percent.

Box office: The Avengers, The Dark Knight opening weekends

True, when Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers opened in early May, among the top ten movies only one was down less than 50 percent. (I opted not to consider that weekend's top twelve because John Carter soared due to a large increase in number of venues.) Now, bear in mind that The Avengers earned nearly $50 million more than The Dark Knight Rises' $160.88 million.

Comparisons to The Dark Knight are hard to make because two other movies opened that same weekend, Meryl Streep's Mamma Mia! (which performed remarkably well, with $27m) and Space Chimps. Of the nine remaining top-twelve holdovers, three were down less than 50 percent – even though The Dark Knight's $158.41 million would represent approximately $174.5 million today.

Weekend box office grosses

In brief, here are the North American box office figures for the July 20-22 weekend. Notice how The Amazing Spider-Man plummeted following the release of The Dark Knight Rises (and the loss of 565 locations):

  • Ice Age: Continental Drift, $20.41 million (down 56.2 percent), cume $88.84 million.
  • Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans), $10.88 million (down 68.6 percent), cume $228.61 million.
  • Seth MacFarlane's Ted (Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis), $10.01 million (down 55.3 percent), cume $180.43 million.
  • Brave, $6.02 million (down 46.0 percent) (voiced by Emma Thompson, Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly), cume $208.77 million.
  • Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike (Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer), $4.29 million (down 52.4 percent), cume $101.96 million.
  • Oliver Stone's Savages (Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively), $3.39 million (down 63.8 percent), cume $40.05 million.
  • Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection, $2.25 million (down 59.7 percent), cume $60.28 million.
  • Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis), $1.83 million (down 50.6 percent), cume $36.08 million.
  • Woody Allen's To Rome with Love (Woody Allen, Roberto Benigni, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page), $1.42 million (down 42.5 percent), cume $11.1 million.
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, $1.35 million (down 63.2 percent), cume $207.62 million.
  • Katy Perry: Part of Me (Katy Perry), $1.14 million (down 69.8 percent), cume $22.61 million.

Box office source: Boxofficemojo.com

July 22

The Dark Knight Rises box office Bane maskThe Dark Knight Rises weekend box office. (Image: The masked mad terrorist / anarchist Bane, Tom Hardy.) Christopher Nolan's “Batman 3” movie, The Dark Knight Rises, scored an estimated $160-162 million at 4,404 North American theaters this July 20-22 weekend, including $30.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings. That's about $20m-$25 million less than early Friday estimates indicated. It's unclear whether or not the Colorado shooting that left 12 people dead and 60 injured affected The Dark Knight Rises' box office take.

Following the tragedy, TDKR distributor Warner Bros. announced it wouldn't release any box office information over the weekend. Every major Hollywood studio has since followed suit. Additionally, Rentrak, the organization that keeps track of box office figures, declined to divulge worldwide box office estimates on Sunday. The $160-162 million figure was given out by “box-office insiders.” Weekend box office actuals will be released on Monday as usual.

The Dark Knight Rises weekend box office: 2D record broken only if inflation ignored

If the weekend estimate is accurate, The Dark Knight Rises is third among the biggest opening weekends ever in the U.S. and Canada, trailing only Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers' $207.43 million and David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's $169.18 million. Curiously, three of the five highest-grossing opening weekends in North America are 2012 releases: besides The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, there's Gary Ross / Jennifer Lawrence / Josh Hutcherson's The Hunger Games at no. 4.

Since both The Avengers and Deathly Hallows 2 are 3D releases, The Dark Knight Rises has been heralded as the 2D movie champ on the domestic, opening-weekend box office chart. TDKR's predecessor was Christopher Nolan's own “Batman 2” movie, The Dark Knight, which grossed $158.41 million in July 2008.

The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Dark Knight: ticket sales

However, if higher ticket prices are factored in (and TDKR box office estimates are correct), The Dark Knight easily remains on top: its $158.41 million opening-weekend take would translate into approximately $174.7 million today. In other words, if July 20-22, 2012, weekend estimates accurate The Dark Knight sold many more tickets than The Dark Knight Rises back in summer 2008 – even without taking into account TDKR's IMAX surcharges.

Now, following the Colorado massacre some have gotten up on their personal soapboxes to claim that box office figures aren't important and why should anyone emphasize or even bother reporting them? After all, what truly matters is the quality of the movies.

If you think that way, you don't live on planet Earth. The Dark Knight Rises wasn't made because Warner Bros. or Christopher Nolan or Jonathan Nolan or Christian Bale wanted to make the greatest movie epic of all time. The only reason The Dark Knight Rises ultimately got made was to make money. Lots of money. Else, no matter how brilliant Christopher Nolan's vision might have been, he would never, ever have gotten (an estimated) $250 million – not including another $100m+ in marketing / distribution expenses – to make his film.

Commercial movies aren't made to be great works of art. They're made so they'll appeal to the largest number of moviegoers (mostly teenagers and parents with little children) and thus bring in the most revenues. That's fact. And that has always been so, even before giant multinational conglomerates took over Hollywood. Without the lure of huge box office grosses, movies such as The Dark Knight Rises would never get made and, in fact, Hollywood itself would no longer exist as a filmmaking factory. Box-office revenues (and ensuing ancillary income) – not great movies – are the raison d'être of the film industry.

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 the mad terrorist Bane, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, plus Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Modine.

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

July 21

The Dark Knight Rises Friday box office Batman CatwomanThe Dark Knight Rises Friday Box Office. (Image: Batman and Catwoman / Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway.) Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises collected an estimated $77.2 million at 4,404 venues on Friday, including $30.6 million from midnight screenings. That's about $3m-$8 million less than early estimates indicated. Whether the Denver area shooting has in any way affected the film's box office take remains unclear at this stage, especially considering The Dark Knight Rises' humongous pre-sales figures.

In the wake of the mass murders, TDKR distributor Warner Bros. has decided not to release any box office information over the weekend. In the aftermath of Warners' announcement, most other Hollywood studios have followed suit. Additionally, Rentrak, the organization that keeps track of box office figures, will not announce worldwide box office estimates on Sunday. Weekend box office actuals will come out on Monday as usual.

The Dark Knight Rises box office: slightly ahead of New Moon

If Friday estimates are accurate, The Dark Knight Rises' first day out in the U.S. and Canada would place it only slightly ahead of the Chris Weitz-directed Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The second installment in the Twilight movie franchise raked in $72.7 million in November 2009 – or about $76.5 million in 2012 dollars.

Now, although The Dark Knight Rises may still end up with the biggest single-day gross ever for a 2D movie at the U.S. and Canada box office (even adjusting for inflation), in terms of ticket sales New Moon – screened at fewer IMAX locations – might still remain ahead.

Either way, the uncontested single-day leader at the domestic box office remains David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' 3D fantasy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which scored $91.07 million in July 2011.

The Dark Knight Rises weekend box-offic likely less than expected

As per their sources, Deadline.com had initially predicted that Christopher Nolan's final installment in his Batman movie trilogy would reach $180 million for the weekend. That figure has been slashed to $170 million. Even so, that would be enough to grant The Dark Knight Rises the most successful opening weekend ever for a 2D release in North America – if one chooses to ignore inflation. If higher ticket prices are taken into account, Nolan's own The Dark Knight would remain on top: its $158.41 million take in summer 2008 would translate into approximately $174.7 million today.

Last spring, Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers, which also had the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges, opened with $80.81 million on Friday, including $18.7 million from midnight screenings. Estimates had the Marvel actioner cuming at $175m-$190 million over the weekend. Yet, The Avengers went on to collect a record-breaking $207.43 million by Sunday evening.

That unexpected surge will likely not be repeated this time around. Really, how many people going to watch The Dark Knight Rises this opening weekend – anywhere in the world, though especially in the United States – will be able to “get into” the movie without thinking about what happened in the Denver suburb of Aurora? I'm not talking about fear (even though psychopaths continue to have the “inalienable” right to legally buy and store heavy weaponry and explosives in most of the U.S.). I'm talking about horror.

Other early weekend box office estimates

Other July 20-22 weekend estimates include the following: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier's animated Ice Age 4: Continental Drift with $6.8 million on Friday and $21.6 million by Sunday evening; Andrew Garfield / Emma Stone's The Amazing Spider-Man with $3.3 million on Friday and circa $11.4 million for the weekend; Seth MacFarlane / Mark Wahlberg / Mila Kunis' Ted, with $3.1 million on Friday and $10.2 million weekend; and the Disney / Pixar animated feature Brave with $1.9 million Friday and $6.5 million weekend. Note that figures for all of the above have been dramatically reduced since early box office estimates posted on Friday.

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 the mad terrorist Bane, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Modine.

Christian Bale Batman, Anne Hathaway Catwoman picture: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

July 20 afternoon

The Dark Knight Rises Catwoman Anne HathawayThe Dark Knight Rises midnight box office trails only Deathly Hallows 2. (Image: Catwoman Anne Hathaway.) If studio estimates are accurate, The Dark Knight Rises now boasts the second biggest midnight opening ever at the North American box office.

The third and final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman movie franchise took in an estimated $30.64 million at Thursday midnight screenings at more than 3,700 locations, slightly surpassing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1's $30.3 million and behind (by a wide margin) only the 3D fantasy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's $43.5 million. Of course, enthusiasm for the film's (expected) success has certainly been dampened by the massacre at a The Dark Knight Rises screening in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

The Dark Knight Rises box office: Biggest 2D midnight movie ever

Once again, if studio estimates are correct, in the U.S. and Canada The Dark Knight Rises is now the biggest midnight grosser among regular-format (2D) films – even adjusting for inflation. TDKR's $30.64 million total includes $2.23 million from 330 IMAX venues.

For comparison's sake: The Dark Knight opened with $18.5 million at 3,040 sites in 2008. That translates into about $20.5 million in 2012 dollars. Starring Christian Bale and the recently deceased Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight went on to gross $158 million on its first weekend in North America. The film screened at only 94 IMAX locations.

Domestic box office: top midnight movies

Following The Dark Knight Rises and Breaking Dawn - Part 1 are two other Twilight movies: Eclipse with $30.1 million and New Moon with $26.3 million. Last spring, The Avengers, which had the advantage of 3D surcharges, opened with $18.7 million.

Below is a list of the top ten midnight debuts (not adjusted for inflation) in North America. Bear in mind that those movies opened at varying number of regular theaters and (higher-priced) IMAX locations. The only non-sequel on the list is the futuristic adventure The Hunger Games. Only two are 3D releases: Deathly Hallows 2 and The Avengers.

  • David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - $43.5 million (Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes / Emma Watson / Rupert Grint).
  • Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 - $30.3 million (Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner).
  • David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - $30.1 million (Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner).
  • Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon - $26.3 million (Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner).
  • David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - $24 million (Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes / Emma Watson / Rupert Grint).
  • David Yates' Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $22.2 million (Daniel Radcliffe / Emma Watson / Rupert Grint).
  • Gary Ross' The Hunger Games - $19.7 million (Jennifer Lawrence / Liam Hemsworth / Josh Hutcherson).
  • Joss Whedon's The Avengers - $18.7 million (Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans / Mark Ruffalo / Robert Downey Jr / Tom Hiddleston / Scarlett Johansson / Jeremy Renner).
  • Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight - $18.5 million (Christian Bale / Heath Ledger / Maggie Gyllenhaal / Aaron Eckhart).
  • George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - $16.5 million (Ewan McGregor / Natalie Portman / Hayden Christensen).

Formerly no. 10 on the list, Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen earned $16 million. The sci-fier / actioner stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel.

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 is supposed to have been inspired by Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

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

The Dark Knight Rises box office Bane Tom HardyThe Dark Knight Rises Friday Box Office. (Image: Tom Hardy as the terrorist Bane.) According to early estimates based on matinee screenings – a chunk of which comes from pre-sales – The Dark Knight Rises is expected to gross around $80 million at 4,404 locations on Friday, July 20. Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan, and starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Marion Cotillard, The Dark Knight Rises is the final installment in Nolan's Batman movie trilogy.

Warner Bros. not to report The Dark Knight Rises weekend estimates

Now, official studio estimates won't be forthcoming this weekend. Warner Bros., a Time Warner company, issued the following statement Friday afternoon, as reported at Deadline.com: “Out of respect for the [Aurora shooting] victims and their families, Warner Bros. Pictures will not be reporting box office numbers for The Dark Knight Rises throughout the weekend. Box office numbers will be released on Monday.”

However, The Dark Knight Rises box office weekend estimates will still be made available by box office tracking service Rentrak. For now, Deadline reports that The Dark Knight Rises could reach $180 million for the weekend. Well, that is, barring a surge on Saturday and Sunday that could propel it to higher levels. It's unclear how – or if – the Aurora/Denver shooting will affect ticket sales.

In the spring, Joss Whedon / Chris Hemsworth / Chris Evans' The Avengers, which had the advantage of 3D surcharges, opened with $80.81 million. Estimates had the Marvel actioner topping at $175m-$190 million for the weekend. Yet, The Avengers went on to gross a record-breaking $207.43 million by Sunday evening.

The undisputable single-day leader at the domestic box office will quite certainly remain David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which raked in $91.07 million in July 2011. Like The Avengers, Deathly Hallows 2's gross was boosted by 3D surcharges.

The Dark Knight Rises Friday box office: 2D Record?

The current no. 3 movie on the North American single-day chart is the Chris Weitz-directed Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner vehicle The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The second installment in the Twilight movie series brought in $72.7 million in November 2009. With $80m+ on Friday, The Dark Knight Rises will thus become the single-day record-holding 2D movie at the U.S. and Canada box office.

Other July 20-22 weekend estimates include the following: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier's animated Ice Age 4: Continental Drift with $7.5 million on Friday and $25 million by Sunday evening; Andrew Garfield / Emma Stone's The Amazing Spider-Man with $4 million on Friday and around $14 million for the weekend; Seth MacFarlane / Mark Wahlberg / Mila Kunis' Ted, with $3.6 million on Friday and $12 million weekend; and the Disney / Pixar animated feature Brave with $2.5 million Friday and $8.5 million weekend.

Remember: those are early, rough estimates. Official studio estimates for Friday (except for The Dark Knight Rises) will come out on Saturday. Weekend estimates will be released on Sunday, and weekend box office actuals on Monday.

The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, Tom Hardy as the mad terrorist Bane, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Matthew Modine as Foley.

Christopher Nolan's brother, Jonathan Nolan, co-wrote the TDKR screenplay, which he has said was inspired by Charles Dickens' classic novel of the French Revolution A Tale of Two Cities.

Tom Hardy as Bane picture: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

July 20 early morning

The Dark Knight Rises box office BatmanThe Dark Knight Rises midnight box office: 25m+? The third and final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman movie franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, will likely earn more than $25 million at Thursday midnight screenings in North America. That would place Nolan's film among the biggest midnight debuts ever.

The source for the above information is The Hollywood Reporter, which adds that The Dark Knight Rises opened one minute after midnight at more than 3,700 locations. Beginning Friday morning, TDKR will be screening at 4,404 theaters, second only to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's 4,468 locations in summer 2010.

Addendum: As per more specific – but still early and subject to change – reported estimates, TDKR grossed between $27m-$28 million at midnight screenings. If those estimates are accurate, TDKR will land in fourth place (not adjusted for inflation) for midnight shows, sandwiched between two Twilight movies. See below.

Midnight box office champ: Harry Potter

The current midnight record-holder in North America is David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which collected (a 3D-boosted) $43.5 million in summer 2011. The fantasy adventure stars Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

The next three movies in line all belong to the Twilight Saga franchise starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. They are: Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 with $30.3 million, David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse with $30.1 million, and Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $26.3 million.

The Dark Knight opened with $18.1 million in summer 2008. This past spring, Joss Whedon's all-star superhero ensemble The Avengers debuted with (a 3D-boosted) $18.7 million.

The Denver TDKR massacre – 14 people killed and dozens left injured after a masked man started shooting inside a packed movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises – will quite possibly affect box office receipts this weekend.

Before we're accused of being insensitive for mentioning the above, that's hardly the case. I'm reporting facts – as it's my job as a movie writer who frequently discusses box office grosses. That doesn't mean I've taken pleasure in writing this post after my previous one (about the massacre) or that either I or Alt Film Guide's editor belives box office receipts are of the utmost importance to humankind.

The Dark Knight Rises recent controversies

Curiously, in recent days The Dark Knight Rises became embroiled in several bizarre controversies that were none of the filmmakers' doing. As a result of vicious comments from rabid TDKR fans (and possibly online trolls), Rotten Tomatoes suspended user comments for the first time ever on their The Dark Knight Rises page. Additionally, right-wing talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh came up with the idea that the terrorist Bane was a disguised attack on U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose controversial (former) investment company is called Bain Capital. DC Comics' Bane co-creator Chuck Dixon dismissed Limbaugh's remarks, coming up instead with the equally asinine concept that if The Dark Knight Rises had a Mitt Romney, that would be Bruce Wayne.

Anyhow, expect Warner Bros. – and possibly Christopher Nolan himself – to issue a statement about the mass murders in the next few hours. According to TF1, the Parisian premiere of the film (not just the red carpet, as previously reported) has been canceled. Nolan, and stars Marion Cotillard, Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were supposed to be in attendance. The studio has also canceled all cast interviews with the French media.

“Midnight Box Office: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” picture: Warner Bros.

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4 Comments to 'The Dark Knight Rises' Opens Millions Below Estimates

  1. partyhard

    I wonder if that Tom Hardy character Bane was inspired by the character played by Dennis Hopper in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Or perhaps it was the other way around. That mask.

  2. zac

    @E. Murphy

    Thanks for writing.

    Clarifying one thing: I don't say in the article that Christopher Nolan (or the other talent involved in “The Dark Knight Rises”) made the movie to earn millions. What I say is that the movie *got made* to earn millions. Quote:

    The only reason The Dark Knight Rises ultimately got made was to make money. Lots of money. Else, no matter how brilliant Christopher Nolan's vision might have been, he would never, ever have gotten (an estimated) $250m — not including another $100m+ in marketing / distribution expenses — to make his film.

    My point was that a) box-office grosses (and ensuing ancillary revenues) are the lifeblood of Hollywood movies b) Warner Bros. and the producing companies involved (including Nolan's Syncopy) would *never* have raised the necessary capital to make “The Dark Knight Rises” — no matter how brilliant it looked on paper — were it not expected to become a billion-dollar grosser. And that goes for every big- and mid-level budgeted movie out there. (Not necessarily $1 billion, of course, but an amount that would justify the investment / expenses incurred by the producing companies / distributors.)

    Once again, thanks for writing.

  3. E. Murphy

    Dear Editor,

    Thank you for this delightful article and some insight to what possible opening weekend tickets TDKR may have pulled in. I know we may not find out the exact figures until later today but this is a good start. I truly believe the Colorado shooting will effect the possible record breaking weekend opening of the Dark Knight Rises. Think about Colorado alone how many people would have saw it twice in the same weekend had it not been for the shooting and times that by theatres around the country and world. Now also take into account a special screening in Paris, New Zealand, etc that has been canceled and others around the world, a silence of box office records alone that would have otherwise drove movie goers and a reduction of advertising for a last minute push that would have drove more tickets have been pulled back to the the sensitivity and respect of the Colorado incident. Also think about all the added show times the theatres had to do to accommodate the damand of this film.

    To add to all that I am reading multiple accounts of people like myself who went to see if the second time the next day and enjoyed it more than the first with NONBatman fans saying it is one of the best movies they seen with a (get this) Terrific story ending. This information alone accounts for the fact the shooting would have an impact on another possible record breaker.

    I also respect your comment on whether films are made solely for the purpose of making money but have to say that was a clumsy comment for someone who hasn't clearly studied Nolan's approach to film making.

    Error # 1.
    If it is all about the big bucks only, then like most businesses you cut down most of your cost to keep more profits. With that said do you think a director/producer will spend time and money to built real sets and aerial heist stunts when he could have just CGIed it saving money on location travel, permits, retakes and a helicopter to direct the aerial heist if it was all about the money. Answer NO.

    Error # 2
    If Nolan is all about the big bucks as with other Digital trendy producers do you think he would spend all that time shooting in 70mm film (IMAX) and other film formats which like photography is more time consuming and costly than digital. Not to mention would have did the pleasure of easing the mind of WB executives by bringing in a more recognizable villian like the Riddler to meet predictable expectations of the audience. Hell just going with an A-list crew period instead of gambling on not so notable actors for acclaimed comic characters. The man is clearly about character development and story telling, that what makes him successful not thinking of money making schemes like its rival summer film AV with overrated and overpriced 3D parlor tricks that clearly is about just making money.
    Considering all the risk factors this TDKR director took to make a truly great FILM. I would have to say money was not his only motivation and I wouldn't even measure it to half. To settle my argument, check out list #3 and thank for posting this cool article btw. Love it.

    Error #3. Christopher Nolan Says Digital Is All About Money, Not Quality
    http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/christopher-nolan-says-digital-all-about-money-not-art-43501

  4. skyler

    i think it was a bad idea to try to end the epic story of batman considering how the ending is