The Dark Knight: Are Box Office Expectations Too High?

Published 7 years ago by , Updated July 24th, 2008 at 1:10 pm,

the dark knight The Dark Knight: Are Box Office Expectations Too High?

Earlier this morning, I was talking about how fans online were nerdgasming over the release of The Incredible Hulk last week.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, “nerdgasming” is being insanely pumped about the release of something (i.e. usually a movie but it also applies to video games, television shows, etc.) to the point of “knowing” it’s going to be a blockbuster-level smash because of your excitement level and the fact that the Internet is talking about it non-stop.

And a lot of times, it doesn’t happen. Sure, sometimes the item in question does well – but nowhere near our own expectations and we find ourselves asking: “What happened?” That certainly applied this past weekend when the Hulk reboot pulled in a solid $55 million despite claims by many that it would churn out anywhere between $60 to $100 million(!) That was never. Gonna. Happen, folks.

Now if there’s any film thats going to top the 3-day $100 million opening weekend of Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this year, it’ll be the much-hyped Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight.

But the question is… will it? Personally, I don’t think so and I shall explain why.

When Iron Man debuted last month with those 8:00 P.M. screenings, I decided to take two very good friends of mine (a young couple) and their little boys – aged 2 and 3 to see the film. As we left the theatre, we discussed the next “event film” we had to see at the very first screening and it was without a doubt going to be The Dark Knight. When I asked, “Should we take the boys with us?” all three of us thought about it for about a second and quickly said, “No.”

Just looking at the trailers (as great as they have been), it’s clear that this is going to be a much darker film than Batman Begins. Of course there are rumors saying the film actually pushes the limits of the PG-13 rating with its material. And I don’t think my friends and I are the only ones concerned about putting this in front of small children too young to comprehend the subject matter of said film.

There’s also the issue of The Dark Knight‘s running length – reportedly at 150 minutes. One wonders if the studios will supply diapers for the audience so they can make it through the whole thing without a bathroom break. Although to be fair, both Pirates of the Caribbean sequels (as awful as they were) chugged out $100 million+ opening weekends and they were around that length – so that probably won’t be a factor.

Don’t get me wrong, ladies and germs. The Dark Knight is going to make a lot of money – easily more than the $205 million gross of Batman Begins. And it will have a huge opening weekend. My guess is the film will gross around $75 to $80 million in its 3-day opening weekend. As for its total domestic box office, I think at the moment we’re looking at a solid $240 to $250 million.

But will it reach anywhere near the $300 million mark that Iron Man has reached and Indy IV is closing in on? That remains to be seen. Let’s just not have a nerdgasm over it…

The Dark Knight opens on July 18th

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138 Comments - Comments are closed.

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  1. To answer your question: no. You’re wrong on this one. And I’m not nerdgasming either… In fact, I think you’ve gone to the entire opposite side of nerdgasm.

    Vic, I hate to say it, but you can’t use personal experiences as a basis for the success of a film. Just because you and your friends think the subject matter is too dark to take your kids doesn’t mean their are millions of others who will take them. Additionally, you’re not accounting for the millions of males aged 18 to 34 who will be seeing The Dark Knight and that’s all this needs to pass $100 million in its opening weekend.

    If I have to recall stories of my own, I can’t even begin to tell you how often I’ve heard people say that The Dark Knight is the one movie that they actually care about going to see opening weekend in theaters. The viral marketing has been perfect, the hype has been growing and is immense, everything about this is set to open HUGE. And it will, despite you’re own worries.

    You’ll see soon enough, but this just seems to be a case of retaliation in opposition to the buzz for The Dark Knight. It will be big, but I’m not going to predict a number. I will just say that you’re very wrong on this one buddy.

  2. Hey Alex, although I happen to agree with the above post – I didn’t write it. :-)


  3. Alex,

    I WANT to be wrong on this, good Sir. But it’s a legit question to pose to everyone.


  4. Oh… Woops! Well take that Jamie! 😛

    Nah, my comment still stands as is. To whoever wrote the article – you’re wrong. :)

  5. I have learned not to make predictions on box office here .
    but if TDK duplicated The Incredible Hulks take that would be 9 million more then BB did which wouldnt be too bad .
    Thats not a prediction,
    just trying to put it in perspective.
    Another thing to consider is TDK will have a lot of competition For the Superhero audience even though its an original character Hancock is defintely being marketed as a superhero film.
    It is being immeadiately followed the next week By Hellboy II.
    By the time TDK comes there might some moviegoers who think “oh,not ANOTHER one!
    I also think TDK isnt marketing to wommen,
    Which is a mistake.
    If TDK makes $77 million dollars thats double what BB made in its opening weekend.
    thats my definition of a successfuol weekend!

  6. I had just the same concerns about this movie, that it maybe will be to dark for a bigger audience. But frankly, I don’t care, this movie is going to rock and is going to be exactly what it’s meant to be. One thing I know for sure, is that all my friends (well a lot!) will sure to go and see this flick. So maybe, maybe, we’ll see about the numbers. I’m more excited about the movie itself :).


  7. It will be dark for sure, but dark enough to leave the kids at home? I don’t think so.
    my Dad let me watch the Alien movies when I was 4. maybe it’s just me but I think everyone is starting to be way to careful about what their children see. now I’m not saying we should take our kids to see the next alien movie. watching those when I was little did scare me, but it made all other movies seem mild in comparison. I don’t think the darker tone will hurt the box office gross of The Dark Knight at all.

  8. There must be something wrong with my PC because I keep have to retype or resend my posts as it just sends me back to the page without my post being there…AAARRRRRGGHHHH!!!!!!

  9. It’s working fine for me, but try hitting the page refresh after you post your comment to see if it appears.


  10. Im of course looking forward to the dark knight…more than any movie in a very very long time, but I actually agree that it won’t make 100 million it’s opening weekend. Maybe somehting like 70-80 million is a little more it’s speed because of the subject matter.

    I actually don’t see anything wrong with a 4 or 5 year seeing Alien, but it all depends on the child. When I was 5 I could have seen Alien and it wouldn’t have affected me in anyway. I saw Jaws when I was 4 and went swiming in Ocean City Maryland not long after, why? Because I knew it was just a movie. Sure some kids are to immature to take to movies like that and parents with those kind of children should know better, but don’t think Patricks father was a horrible perent just because he took his son to see Alien for christs sake.

  11. Kobayashi Maru…


    Let the next 30 commentors explain!

    A bathroom break is the excuse I give
    the attendant, when they suggest I
    upsize my soft drink. :O

  12. Philippines is waiting fot THE DARK KNIGHT

  13. thanks Ronnie.
    greennight333 I think it’s good that you don’t have tv channels. you probably spend more time with your kids than most parents.
    seeing aliens when I was 4 didn’t effect me at all while I was growing up, violent movies didn’t either. video games were exactly what they were to me, games. I can see what your saying, and I agree with it to a certain extent, but I think that people can go another way by watching movies like The Dark Knight with their kids, just talk with them about it after wards. make sure they understand that it’s just a movie, and that Batman is awesome. after a few movies like that, and a few chats like that, I’m sure kids would understand. as for Ronnie and I, we were just way ahead of the other 5 year olds =)

  14. Wow! if your going to be a movie critic, know the difference between a good movie and a bad moive. The Dark Knight will be THE BEST movie of the summer, maybe not make the most money but the best actual movie. And 150 Mins? Man if you can’t sit through one of the most anticipated movies ever you should take those bladder medecines on TV!

  15. Oh come on. I remember king kong to be more than 3 hours long, spidy 3 was 156 mins! Looking forward to dark knight. Dont drink too much in the beginning of the movie.

  16. Guys, you DID notice that the article is about how much money the film will make, not how GOOD it will be?

    It will make a pile of cash – the question is only how BIG a pile.

    And regarding bladder control, I guess you guys don’t recognize humor when you see it…


  17. In 2003, the R rated Matrix Reloaded made over 130 Million in its four day weekend (90 Million Fri-Mon.) That was when tickets were cheaper as well. R rated 300 made over 70 Million in its opening weekend. That wasn’t even an established franchise. So there is no reason to think that a dark PG-13 movie isn’t capable of making over 100 mil.

    Kids don’t determine as much of the box office as most people think. In fact, more adults may be eager to go if they believe there won’t be any annoying six years olds sitting around them.

  18. LOL, Chris, AWESOME point on having a lack of 6 year olds in the audience. :-)

    Now if we can only get people to leave their babies with babysitters…


  19. Personally I agree with the article.

    It will make a lot of money. It will be an excellent movie. But it won’t be a major mainstream smash hit.

    Personally I’m fine with that. It never sits comfortably with me when the mob loves something the same way I do.

    This is the sort of movie that purges the weak and leaves only the strong to acclaim it! 😉

    Mind you, I do wonder what the Heath Ledger factor will do to it.

  20. Good. Take the little brats to Kung Fu Panda, where they belong. Save TDK for the grown-ups.

  21. I see Shawn has no kids…and they are not all brats man…Some of them are even cute…Nice ego dude…all about you..

  22. I agree Greenknight 333, there’s a global adgenda here. Desensitation is key to making it all work.
    Most people won’t even know what I mean. That’s how good its working.

  23. Thanks 790…Agendas abound everywhere…Keep em desensitized keep them simple and keep them entertained and distracted.


  24. Patrick

    If I offended you or your Dad I apologize as that was not my intention..
    We just have a difference in opinion on acceptable levels of violence for 4 year olds..


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