'The Dark Knight Rises' Sets 2-D Opening Record
Earns $160.9 Million
Published: 07/23/2012, Last Updated: 07/24/2012 04:17am
As expected Christopher Nolan’s Batman finale, The Dark Knight Rises, took the weekend box office crown with a domestic total of $160.9 million, the third best opening ever and the best ever for a film that wasn’t released in 3-D. The strong showing was at the low end of expectations following a sterling midnight debut that earned $30.6 million from early Friday morning showings like the one in Aurora, Colorado that was the scene of a horrendous tragedy (see "'TDKR' Midnight Shows Do $30.6 Million").
Warner Brothers decided not release box office numbers until today out of deference to the victims of the Colorado massacre and their families (see "Studios Delay B.O. Numbers") and the rest of the studios went along. Though no one will ever know for certain, most analysts believe that Nolan’s final Batman film lost somewhere between ten and thirty million dollars due to the tragic events, and that family films like Ice Age: Continental Drift and Brave also took a hit as parents were reluctant to send their kids to the multiplex. Thanks to The Dark Knight Rises, which was responsible for 72% of the total of the Top 12 films, the box office posted a 19% gain over the same weekend last year when Marvel Studios’ Captain America debuted with $65 million. Given that most analysts thought that it was possible that Hollywood would be able to balance out the 39% decline suffered in the previous weekend (see "'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Tops Slow Frame"), this week’s 19% gain doesn’t quite cut it.
Warners has not yet released full demographic data on TDKR, but it did announce that opening weekend audiences gave the film a superb "A" CinemaScore, which certainly bodes well for its performance in the coming weeks. Nolan’s previous Batman film, The Dark Knight, displayed extraordinary legs in 2008. While TDKR did beat The Dark Knight’s debut total of $158.4 million, given ticket price inflation it is likely that The Dark Knight sold more tickets during its opening weekend.
Last week’s winner, Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, came in second with a total of $20.4 million, a 56.2% drop from its opening weekend. Given that the fourth Ice Age film didn’t have a huge bow, and that animated feature films don’t usually decline that much in their second frame, it’s easy to see why analysts think that the Colorado tragedy affected attendance at more films than just The Dark Knight Rises.
Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man slipped to #3 in its third weekend in theaters as its total plummeted 68.6% in the face of direct competition from the new Batman epic. Marc Webb’s Spidey reboot raised its domestic total to $228.6 million, and it has done even better overseas where it has earned $62.8% of its worldwide total of $614.6 million.
Seth McFarlane’s "R" rated comedy Ted slipped 55.3% and fell to fourth with a total of $10 million. So far the "R" rated comedy hit of the summer has earned $180.4 million versus a cost of $50 million.
Pixar’s Brave suffered the smallest decline of any film in wide release, 46%, as it earned an additional $6 million and brought its domestic total to $208.7 million as it eased ahead of Madagascar 3 to become the #1 animated feature film in the domestic market.
Check back next Sunday to see if The Dark Knight Rises’ domination of the box office will continue as expected, and if the box office can rebound from the tragic occurrence in Colorado.
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