The Dark Knight Beats Estimates

posted by Ross Melnick on July 21, 2008 at 10:15 am

The Dark Knight beat its Sunday estimate and scored $158.3 million over the three-day weekend. The figure is the “best-ever 3-day non-holiday weekend,” according to Deadline Hollywood Daily. “The new industry record made mincemeat of conventional wisdom,” The Hollywood Reporter adds, “that a mid-July session could never pack such a punch.”

To get a sense of the excitement at theaters across the country, IMAX president Greg Forster notes: “We sold out every single ticket in the country at every show. We’re certainly sold out throughout (the weekend), and the majority of our theaters have sell-outs into next weekend and beyond. Our Web site has shut down multiple times.”"

Comments (13)

moviebuff82 on July 21, 2008 at 11:44 am

By next weekend, it will still be number one, but the decline should be smaller than other superhero movies since this one has got good word of mouth. Plus the IMAX version will have a long shelf life ahead before the new Harry Potter comes out.

Cliffs on July 21, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Why are they calling it the “best-ever 3-day non-holiday weekend?“ It’s the best 3-day opening… period.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on July 21, 2008 at 8:27 pm

At these numbers, a 50% drop-off still equals (AN ASTRONOMICAL!) $78.15 million! We are watching history, y'all. TITANIC MUST FALL!

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on July 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

The monday night numbers coming in are huge!

JodarMovieFan on July 21, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Its a given that a part of the astronomical numbers and attendance are due to Heath Ledger’s sudden and unexpected passing. Its the curiosity factor. Let’s see what happens in the following weeks as there are still some big pictures coming out and whether this movie sustains. I’m predicting a 60% or more drop in week 2. I doubt this film will sink Titanic. :)

markp on July 22, 2008 at 4:54 am

My thoughts exactly JodarMovieFan.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 22, 2008 at 9:37 am

I agree. “Titanic” had little girls going back to see DiCaprio for a year. TDK will be out on DVD by Thanksgiving.

Cliffs on July 22, 2008 at 2:24 pm

While I agree that it won’t beat Titanic (which was a fluke, like the original Star Wars), I think you guys will be surprised by just how well it’ll do overall. It did almost $25 million on a MONDAY (and not a holiday Monday, like the two higher grossing Monday titles). If it does $17 million on Tuesday, it’ll beat the fastest to $200 million record by three days, almost cutting the time in half. And that’s more than just because people are curious about Heath Ledger. Raul Julia’s death didn’t propel Street Fighter to any records (or even any decent box office). The bottom line is that Dark Knight is an amazing movie, it lives up to its hype, and what we’re seeing is the lightning in a bottle that happens when the stars align. Don’t be surprised if weekend #2 doesn’t quite hit your 60% drop. When checking the Arclight here in LA, at least half of their evening shows were sold out last night and the Cinerama Dome show that starts in 6 hours is already sold out. Those things don’t just happen and tells me that it’s going to be impossible to predict just how TDK is going to play out long-term (and definitely short-term).

TheaterBuff1 on July 23, 2008 at 12:38 am

When it comes to movies presented in theaters, to be sure, this is what it’s all about, why the movie theater industry should be strongly supported by politicians and others rather than downplayed in any way as if “passe”! I think of all the efforts I made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania over the past several years to try to bring at least one or two of its classic old theater buildings back to life as theaters once again so as to be in perfect position for great moments such as this, only for my efforts to be harshly criticized, and fully blocked, at every turn, by those “experts” who know so much better than me. And ah, notice how they’re strangely silent in this instance. Not a peep. Interesting, very interesting.

One other thing, Cliff Stephenson, no offense, but in no way whatsoever was TITANIC a fluke! STAR WARS yes. I look at STAR WARS now and I laugh at it. In fact, I laughed at it back when others were singing such high praises of it. But TITANIC in stark contrast was — and remains — one heck of a great movie! I can watch that movie even today and still feel the impossible to turn away from entrancement I felt the first time I saw it — even though I now know fully by rote what happens next from one scene to the next. For everything is so perfect about it, and I mean that in a timeless way. A fluke is just something in the moment, that years later everyone asks why it had been so popular at the time. BORN FREE, for instance, or just about every movie that Barbra Streisand ever made. Or E.T. Not that there’s anything wrong with flukes. They have their place to. And regarding THE DARK KNIGHT, it’s much too soon to judge whether it’s a fluke or not. (Er, with Philadelphia currently being the way it is, compliments of the know-it-alls, I’ve not seen it yet.) But if it is or isn’t a fluke, I think it’s great that people are feeling this enthusiastic about seeing movies in actual theaters once more!

Cliffs on July 23, 2008 at 3:08 am

I’m not here to disparage the Titanic Appreciation Fan Club. Something being a fluke has no bearing on its actual quality, but rather its expectations. Titanic opened @ #1 with $28 million, only $3 million ahead of the #2 movie and $5 million LESS than the #1 movie the weekend prior. Not exactly the tell-tale sign of a film that would ultimately gross $2 billion world-wide. But by maintaining an insane plateau (and even rising on some weekends) it did something that very few films do (and, yes, that includes Star Wars and E.T.)… it defied logic and was successful beyond what anyone expected. That’s a fluke. If it wasn’t, Fox never would have sold off domestic rights to Paramount. Would Titanic make $600 million domestic if it was released today? It’s doubtful and, again, that what constitutes a fluke. You don’t see it coming, you can’t explain it when it’s happening, and you can’t predict how it’s going to turn out.

In fact, the only one of the major record breakers from the past 30 years (Star Wars, ET, Jurassic Park, Titanic) that I don’t think could be considered a fluke would be Jurassic. There was a great deal of expectation with that film and it delivered financially.

But just because you love a film more than any other film and think it deserved all of the success it got doesn’t mean that that success wasn’t lightning in a bottle.

And FYI, there are people out there that laugh at Titanic just like you laugh at Star Wars, and to them, they now wonder why Titanic was so popular at the time. The IMDB user rating for Titanic is 7.2 out of 10. Guess what people rank equal to or higher than Titanic from that year? Every one of the 4 films it beat out for Best Picture- The Full Monty, As Good As It Gets, Good Will Hunting, and LA Confidential. For a little perspective, the new Rambo rates a 7.5. If the world was how you say it was, based on its box office, Titanic would rate a perfect 10.)

TheaterBuff1 on July 24, 2008 at 12:29 am

I always associate the term “fluke” with that which doesn’t deserve to getting a high level of praise and recognition for whatever freak reason, the “Emperor’s New Clothes” kind of thing. It’s subjectivity v. objectivity. In the subjective moment it seems like something really great, at least to many. But the long-term objective perspective reveals it for what it really is, or was, and that is, much ado about nothing. I’ve also often seen the word “fluke” used as a jealousy term. Case in point, at the height of Beatlemania many who couldn’t even begin to hold a candle to them referred to the Beatles as a “fluke.”

In response to your question, “Would TITANIC make $600 million domestic if it was released today?” in my opinion the answer is an absolute yes if it was all new and fresh as it was in 1997, as opposed to who by now hasn’t already seen it? The reason why is because the underlying premise of the movie is just so timeless, ever ongoingly analogous of what’s happening in any given moment, at least somewhere. Also in response to your question, what great movie past ever did as well the second time around at the box office as it did the first? That is, speaking of movies that did really well box office-wise the first time around?

As for your saying some now laugh at TITANIC the same way I now laugh at STAR WARS, other than the use of minor cliches — such as DiCaprio at one point saying he’s “just a tumbleweed blowing in the wind” (ouch!) — what are they now laughing at exactly? In other words, what shows up as glaring flaws in the film now that didn’t show up at the time of its release?

Right now the moment belongs to THE DARK KNIGHT, and I for one think that’s great, even if after 10 years from now time will show it up as having been a fluke, which time hasn’t done in the TITANIC’s case. It’s sad that its biggest driving force, the late Heath Ledger, will never get to make another movie again, that he’ll never know the high praises he’s now receiving, and to use the momentum of this to go on to top his last achievement the same way the Beatles got to do, or Brando, or Dustin Hoffman, or whoever. Right now with THE DARK KNIGHT one can only ask what if Ledger had lived a bit longer? For we need those super achievers; what is life worth without them? For I believe we just saw a glimpse of that in the period when the hoopla over the TITANIC subsided and just prior to THE DARK KNIGHT’s release. Let us hope THE DARK KNIGHT represents a new dawning in cinematic excitement, and that in a month from now we’ll see the same success happen again, and again and again and again following that, though it’s a shame Philadelphia, with its oppressive movers & shakers who “know it all” won’t get to participate.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 26, 2008 at 8:16 pm

“…or just about every movie that Barbra Streisand ever made.”

How quickly you forget “FUNNY GIRL” and “WHAT’S UP, DOC?”, two classics that have outlived any silly BATMAN movie so far.

TheaterBuff1 on July 26, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Good point, AlAlvarez! But this one might be different. When I wrote that I was thinking of ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER, and THE WAY WE WERE, the latter matching up Streisand with Redford. Ouch! Another absolute disaster, the remake of A STAR IS BORN that had her opposite Kristofferson. But hey, not to come down too hard on her, I thought she wasn’t too bad opposite Nolte in PRINCE OF TIDES, and was actually somewhat good in MEET THE FOCKERS, though obviously none of these movies are blockbusters.

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