Custom Search
Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight Reigns: $155.3 Mil Opening Weekend

The Dark Knight chased Spider-Man 3 from the record books with a $155.3 opening weekend gross, per Exhibitor Relations Co. estimates today.

The figure capped three days of eye-popping figures for the Christopher Nolan film. The highlights:

* The Dark Knight made more money in Friday midnight screenings ($18.5 million) than its predecessor, Batman Begins, made in any one day.
* The Dark Knight made more money in one day ($66.4 million on Friday) than Batman Begins made in any one weekend.
* The Dark Knight made about as much money in its second-biggest day ($48 million on Saturday) as Batman Begins made in its biggest weekend ($48.7 million).

* The Dark Knight made more money in its third-biggest day ($39 million on Sunday) than Get Smart and You Don't Mess With the Zohan, to name two recent hits, made in their respective opening weekends.
* The Dark Knight made more money in its biggest day than Hancock, WALL-E and Kung-Fu Panda, to name three recent supersize hits, made in their respective opening weekends.
* The Dark Knight made more money in its opening weekend than the previous top-three-opening Batman movies (Batman Forever, Batman Begins, Batman Returns) made in their opening weekends—combined.

About the only thing The Dark Knight didn't do was keep up the frenetic pace it set with Friday's $66.4 million blowout, a performance which set new records as Hollywood's biggest-ever opening day and biggest-ever single day.

"Some people probably stayed away [to avoid] the crowds," Exhibitor Relations' Jeff Bock said.

Bock does not think audiences will stay away next weekend. He expects The Dark Knight will become only the second movie this summer, after Iron Man, to hold the No. 1 position at the box office for more than one weekend.

"Spider-Man 3 was savaged by critics, and it fell off pretty quickly," Bock said. "I don't expect anything to happen with The Dark Knight."

Especially not with the Heath Ledger factor at play.

To Bock, The Dark Knight's box office benefited immensely from both curiosity and buzz surrounding Ledger's performance as iconic Batman foe The Joker. The role was the last completed by the young actor before his death in January.

"This is really unprecedented, an actor in a blockbuster film dying before the release," Bock said.

"Unprecedented" is one word to sum up the weekend.

"Batman" is another.
Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. The Dark Knight, $155.3 million
2. Mamma Mia!, $27.6 million
3. Hancock, $14 million
4. Journey to the Center of the Earth, $11.9 million
5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army, $10 million
6. WALL-E, $9.8 million
7. Space Chimps, $7.4 million
8. Wanted, $5.1 million
9. Get Smart, $4.1 million
10. Kung Fu Panda, $1.8 million