Dark Knight Box Office Hysteria

Published 7 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 7:00 am,

the dark knight Dark Knight Box Office Hysteria

Call me a naysayer, the devil’s advocate or whatever.

There’s a major case of online movie website hysteria sweeping the internet. Everyone is falling all over themselves talking about how The Dark Knight is going to break box office records. A month ago we wrote that we believed that The Dark Knight would most likely gross about $80 million on its opening weekend and we took more than a little heat for it. Of course that was before the Warner Bros. marketing machine went into warp-overdrive over the last couple of weeks.

Now the debate seems to be whether it will bring in “only” $130MM or whether it will beat the record held by Spider-Man 3: a $151 million opening weekend.

I’m no box office pundit and believe me, I want this film to do great. I’ve seen it (review coming late Thursday) and it’s not like any superhero movie that’s come before it. If you think that Hellboy or Spider-Man 3 are dark, you’ve got a whole ‘nother level of pitch black headed your way with The Dark Knight.

There are people who know far more than I do who are predicting $130 million this weekend. But gasoline is being poured on the box office prediction fire by online ticket site MovieTickets.com, which is sending out all kinds of pre-sales stats saying the movie is outselling Spider-Man 3 two to one at this point in the sales cycle. They also released today the fact that 700 performances of The Dark Knight have sold out already.

Wow! 700 performances! That’s a lot, right?

Well, maybe… maybe not.

According to Fandango.com, about 40% of people they surveyed plan on watching the film in IMAX and about 40% plan on seeing the film at a Thursday night midnight screening. Do you know how many IMAX theaters across the entire country will be showing The Dark Knight?

Ninety-four. Yup, that’s 94 IMAX theaters in the entire United States.

I’ll bet at least half of those sold out performances are IMAX showings. IMAX is finally starting to be recognized more widely as an awesome format for movies and people want to see this hype-laden blockbuster in that format if possible. The buzz is on about how those theaters are adding showings all through the night – now you can see why.

heath ledger joker dark kni Dark Knight Box Office Hysteria

Across all theaters, The Dark Knight is showing on 1500 screens, but are regular theaters having to add 3AM showings? If anyone has any figures on this, please add them below. I’m thinking all this pre-sale hysteria is:

  1. People who can’t wait and want to see it first.
  2. People who want to see it in IMAX know there’s a limited number of seats.
  3. People who due to the first two items are afraid it WILL sell out completely this weekend and they’ll have to wait to see the movie.

Yes, it’s an amazing film – no doubt about it, but it’s NOT your typical superhero movie. I’m not saying that’s BAD, I’m just saying I don’t know how it will “play in Peoria.” This film is closer in spirit to New York City cop/crime dramas like The Departed than it is to Spider-Man. Does the “Batman crowd” turn out to see crime dramas? I don’t know.

And I’m going to refer back to the previous post regarding the power of parents bringing kids to movies: With this one it ain’t gonna happen (or at least, it shouldn’t – this movie really pushes PG-13 right past the line into an R-rating IMHO). So it’s up to the single folks to push this one into the stratosphere. Then again, Hancock did much better than I expected, so what do I know? icon smile Dark Knight Box Office Hysteria

The Dark Knight opens on July 18 (as if you didn’t know).

Source: MarketWatch.com

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  1. Spider -Man 3 made 151 million in its first weekend .
    thats not even predicted for TDK.
    but that Type of report is just what I am talking about.
    if it is right now on wednesday doing better in pre ticket sales then Spider man 3 why is it only estimated to make 130 million for the entire weekend ?
    Thats 21 million less then SM3s opening weekend.
    I am NOT questiong the film quality .
    just the pre release hype about the ticket sales.

  2. I just watched for the second time and I have to say I liked it a lot more this time around. I think I brought expectations with me about what kind of film it would be for the first viewing, but once that was out of the way and I accepted it for what it was I found it to be much better than I thought.

    Glad I saw it twice before writing my review. :-)

    And Kel, it’s apples and oranges – it’s like comparing The Empire Strikes Back to Godfather II – they’re two very different films.


  3. I am glad you liked it so much Vic.
    i usually agree with your reviews .
    Did you see it in IMAX?

  4. As per your request, I decided to check out your newest post on “The Dark Knight”. I think it’s definitely sensible to approach the box office with a lot of doubt and little understanding. I took a lot of liberties in my own post in assuming things, and I liked your approach a lot. Great post!

    And you definitely took a little heckling because of your $80 million opening weekend calculation, didn’t you? ;) (as I was one of the heckling…)

  5. As i said before to the article you posted a month ago…..

    The major factor here is that, the people aren’t going to see the movie for the main character or for the movie in general……BUT to see the man who died not so long ago in his 2nd last role…

    Out of all the women i have talked to about the dark knight, most expressed that they were interested in seeing it and that they didnt even like batman at all..but b/c of heath ledger passing….

    If this does break spider man 3′s record it’s b/c of heath…..

  6. @Gary Yup, IMAX. Twice. :-)

    This is definitely going do the $130MM this weekend and will do better than Batman Begins. I watched it with a crowd last night and they really loved it.


  7. Vic do you think it could break the opening record of Spider -Man 3?

  8. I don’t think it will, but I think there will definitely be less than a 50% drop in box office on its second weekend.


  9. I hope you are right Vic .
    Box Office Report is predicting 118 million.

  10. Box Office Guru is predicting 132 million.

  11. I’m going to be the rebel and see Hellboy 2 this weekend instead of TDK. I bet the theaters aren’t as full next weekend for TDK, although I would bet it’s going to be the #1 movie for at least 3 weeks in a row. I really don’t the The X-Files is going to be able to knock off the Bat.

  12. the thing about Spiderman 3 is that it pretty much sucked, so it didn’t get the multiple viewings it could have gotten opening weekend, which could have put it at least at 160 million. that will not be a problem for the dark knight. not only will people want multiple viewings, but they WILL bring friends. Word of mouth will be Very strong.

  13. did u really just say 94 is half of 700?…

  14. This is from Box Office mojo.

    ‘Dark Knight’ midnight opening: $18.489 million at 3,040 theaters.
    Tops ‘Revenge of the Sith’s $16.5 million record.

    I was messging around with numbers on the calc, and if you say 3,040 sold half a theather full of people and had a min 5 showings I said about 46m + dollars, lets say it does just as well on sat that would 110 million and cut those numbers in half for sunday because generally ticket sales are down it would come out to be 133 million. Wow that wwould be close to wgat a lot of predictions say. Well i could be wrong what ever, because i didnt include cheaper prices during the day or night showings get more people blah blah.

    BUT I loved it and I am going to go see it again tom.

  15. I was one of the lucky few to see it for free on tuesday night (at an imax no less) so I wont be helping those totals rise for at least a few more days. Granted…I am really excited to see it again. This is one of those movies that I wont mind sitting through twice (or three times if my friends have their way). But I do enjoy the fact that it will do well. Will it break records? Whos to say. My delorian is in the shop after all. But if this week is any indictation, there will be another Nolan helmed Batman film. Here here says I.

  16. Thought you guys might get a chuckle out of this one…

    I was running a follow spot for a rock show at the orange county fair last night. The show had three acts and started about half an hour before sunset (which made operating the lamp pretty much useless for the first band….
    After the opener finished, a pretty good chunk of the crowd headed for the exits. Those of us on the com system were kinda wondering what was up when my cell phone rang right before the second act started their set. I answered, and it was a projectionist buddy of mine (who’s part of the same Local), asking if the crowd at the concert had thinned noticably. I was stunned that he knew what was going on! He was about 12 miles down the 405 fwy. at the Irvine Spectrum IMAX! He told me he had a hunch that the crowd jamming the front of the theater had just come from the O.C. fair. Sure enough, about 2 1/2 hours later ( in the middle of the headliner’s set no less…) ANOTHER MASS EXODUS! Although I have to admit the headliner was uber weak…I suspect that there might have been maybe 400 people left in the 5000 seat venue when the house lights came on! I’ve worked this venue for many moons and have never seen the like. I’m working the same venue tonight and will be really curious as to how TDK effects “The tides” for tonight’s shows.

    I can’t wait to see this thing…sometime…



  17. TDK set one day box office records at $66.4 million, beating Spiderman 3 by almost 7 million. There’s no chance that spiderman will keep its title for best opening weekend. Let say TDK does the same number for saturday and you get $132 million then add another $30 million for sunday and you get $162 million. Thats $10 million more the Spiderman 3, but I am thinking that the numbers will be more around $175 million when all is said and done this weekend.

  18. $155.3 million is what is being projected. We’ll see for sure tomorrow but looks like TDK has beat Spiderman 3′s three day opening record

  19. Well, guess this answers everything. The Dark Knight smashed through the records (and Spidey).. let’s see what other records will fall. Best..movie..ever..BTW :)

  20. hAHaHahahhahha!!!!