‘Dark Knight Rises’ Fails to Rise Above ‘Avengers’ Opening Weekend Record

Published 3 years ago by

the dark knight rises Dark Knight Rises Fails to Rise Above ‘Avengers’ Opening Weekend Record

Despite four years of relentless anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises fell short of expectations, at least at the box office.

The film brought in a strong $160.8 million in its first three days of release, but fell remarkably short of the record $207 million debut claimed by Marvel’s The Avengers in May. Its first-week numbers place the latest Batman adventure as the third highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, behind last year’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at $169 million. Analysts had initially expected that the grand finale to the Christopher Nolan helmed trilogy (which Nolan himself recently bid a formal farewell to) would reach as high as $195 million. Of course, there are some factors to consider…

To be fair, ticket sales were likely affected by the horrific events in Colorado which preceded the weekend, leaving many moviegoers a bit hesitant about rushing out to theaters. Buoyed by midnight screenings and presales, The Dark Knight Rises earned $75.7 million on Friday, and those numbers consistently dropped as the weekend went on, tapering off at just over $40 million on Sunday. As it stands, The Dark Knight Rises is unlikely to match the $600 million domestic take that The Avengers has raked in during its release.

 Dark Knight Rises Fails to Rise Above ‘Avengers’ Opening Weekend Record

However, Warner Brothers (and Bat-fans everywhere) certainly should be proud of the film’s performance. The Dark Knight Rises also didn’t have the boost of higher-priced 3D ticket sales (as Avengers did) but still managed to set a record for best bow by a strictly 2D film. Thanks to the sheer scope of the film and Nolan’s visual panache, many fans opted to see the film in IMAX, where it played on a record 332 screens, accounting for $19 million of its total box office take. All in all, the film – against a reported $250 million budget – has brought in $249 million worldwide and will expand internationally to another 40 territories this week.

Had the circumstances surrounding its opening weekend been different, The Dark Knight Rises may have welcomed a more impressive opening weekend – but as it stands, the film is poised to close out Nolan’s acclaimed series with a solid – if not particularly record-breaking – finish.

The only question left is: Which superhero film did you think was better?

Source: The Wrap

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  1. I think that realistically no one truly expected TDKR to outgross the Avengers weekend prior to the events in Colorado, which I still believe couldn’t have accounted for the $47 million difference.

    Avengers had the 3D pricing, family friendly appeal and also that unique novelty of being the first ever superhero crossover movie. Whilst TDKR had huge anticipation, it was similar in tone and look to two previous films that preceded it. People weren’t promised anything new or fresh.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong in a healthy comparison debate over the two movies. It was unavoidable really with either coming from both DC or Marvel. There’s no reason not to like both, in the same way both Nadal and Federer can be both liked. It’s really the contrasts of styles that fuels the debate, – Avengers was all light, fun, exciting adrenaline rush, TDKR was darker, more character driven, more intricately plotted. It’s unfortunate when the debates resolve to name calling or personal attacks.

    I’ve said on other threads that TDKR was an impressive movie and superior to TDK. Despite the storyline issues, I was just disappointed that things were left open ended, which ironic given Nolan’s insistance of bringing closure to the trilogy.

    As for Avengers, it’s simply the movie phenomenon of 2012 – with only The Hobbit left to challenge it’s status. It’s an exciting and almost scary to imagine what the opening grosses will be for Avengers 2 on it’s release.

    • @lebsta

      I have to agree that it’s weird for the ending of TDKR to be so open when it’s supposed to be a conclusion… I still liked it though, definitely a better ending than TDK, lol.

      • In my personal opinion, the ending of TDKR was wonderful.
        The door is left “open” so that they/we/the audience can believe whatever we want to believe…

        It’s a little like Inception’s ending, but only with more possibilities.
        In Inception Cob was either in reality or in limbo.
        In TDKR there are many possibilities. We’ll never know for sure which one is the “correct” one, but we’re free to make up or believe whatever theory we want to.

        • —SPOILER ALERT—
          —SPOILER ALERT—
          It’s pretty diplomatic actually.
          For those who really wanted Batman/Bruce Wayne to die, can believe that he did die (it’s a stretch to think so, but they can if they want to)
          For those who wanted Bruce Wayne to live can believe that (whether he retires or goes back to the job are also possibilities).
          Those who wanted Blake to take over the role of Batman can believe in that theory and those who wanted Blake to become Robin has that…
          —END OF SPOILERS—
          —END OF SPOILERS—
          This way, nobody gets disappointed! It’s brilliant! 😀

          • The only thing. that seen to bug people are the plot holes in the dkr . tho I think all the plot holes can be explained the movie could have done it for us.

          • very well said Avenger.


            I really don’t think it was open ended at all. Everything was resolved and Blake is Batman. The last shot of the movie right before the title card (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES) was Blake literally rising in the Batcave and out of frame. The only thing left “open” is the adventures of this new Batman. I personally would love to see a comic series come from this featuring Blake.

    • Nadal is s***. Period

  2. 5. before the sad events i said it here on screen rant that rises
    was not going to beat avengers opening nor total gross. (and iam not only one)
    4. before this year no FILM in history of box office ever cracked 170 million (harry potter was closest) much less 200 million and avengers took not one step but 4 steps above previous record holder.
    3. avengers did not open on 4,350 3D screens otherwise it may have reached over 300 million at box office on opening weekend.
    2. i had this film opening up at 140 million to 145 million on opening weekend without anyone paying me to make outright silly predictions.
    1. before this summer only james cameron’s top two films were only ones
    to score 600 mil at box office domestically. so for analyst and nolan followers who thought 200 mil and busting 600 mil again this year are
    just downright making excuses.

  3. Who Cares – It’s been THE greatest ever year in Superhero Movie History !

    Avengers brought us fantastic fun with Hulk Iron-Man Capt America & Thor !

    The Amazing Spider-Man rescued Spidey & fired him back onto the big-screen with the Best Spidey yet !

    The Dark Knight Rises completes the trilogy in style

    All 3 movies doing really well money wise – proving the massive love for the genre when made really well.

    Now we have to wait a year until Superman is back and joining in the fun.

    • I really hope X-Men knocks one out of the park some time soon.

      • Fox should poach Whedon!

  4. We’ll never know what would happened without the tragedy…

  5. Heres a question. Who in their right mind thought this movie would either beat the Avengers or even get above 190 million? I certainly didn’t, i expected between 150-165 million not an outragious 190-207+ million. Sure its the end to the epic Batman trilogy but the Avengers was a movie made from 5 other movies and is a completly 1 of a kind movie. I new people that didnt watch comicbook movies that went to see the Avengers. Its stupid to compare them, Avengers is a superhero comic book movie about saving the world. Batman is about more personal problems about saving Gotham ans self liberation.

    • umm.. if it wasnt for the CO massacre Batman would have smoked the Avengers.

      • I honestly do not believe that 1 bit. I think maybe 5 million most the massacre caused but 47 million thats a little high. This still did very well and great for a 2D movie but still i could never see this movie beating the Avengers in ANY way. Oh I’m not a fanboy I loved both movies, both 10/10 for me i just could never see it doing 200+ million.

      • That’s not true. People around the world are intelligent enough to know that the Colorado incident is a rare occurrence.

    • I think the fact that Avengers had 3D is what made it untouchable.

  6. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!! Nice try Bats!

  7. What I see mostly here are people trying to justify why TDKR didn’t get the number 1 spot. If you enjoyed the film, what does it matter whether it beat out the grosses of another film? I enjoyed The Avengers better, but if TDKR did do the impossible and take the number 3 spot for all-time grosses, I’m not going to whine about it and justify why Avengers didn’t keep the spot. Can’t we all just be happy that this genre (as many have said) has produced such great films?

    And for those questioning whether this article should have been written or not, look at the number of posts and then you’ll know why Robert wrote it. The primary reason for this site is to get hits, and they have done a great job.

    • It’s the rabid DC/”Nolanites” that feel the need to assert their dominance over the CBM genre. If they can’t be #1 then it’s somehow a defeat.

      Us “Marvelites” are just happy to be in the mix and doing well along with everyone else :)

      • I just consider myself a comic book fan. I love both DC and Marvel movies. This incessant barrage of “TDKR didn’t make as much because of (insert excuse)” is just maddening. I thought I’d never see the day when fans aren’t happy that their film got over $160 million on it’s first weekend! Incredible!

        • Yes, maybe it would have been better to say, “CB Fan” rather than “Marvelite”.

  8. They shouldn’t compared two completely different movies other than be super hero movies.
    1. Its a team up movie with lighter/funny tone vs Darker single hero movie.
    2. DKR had better story and more realistic. It didn’t have fake female using pistols on giant robot aliens and expect to live. Avengers got people to look forward to first team up movie. If it went against Justice movie than we can count it.
    3. The colorado tradegy. The guy was crazy and didn’t even know batman anyway and try to blame joker character. First of all joker has green hair and face pain.

    • I wonder what awe-inspiring logic you would have used if DKR made $220 million.

  9. I can’t believe people are actually complaining the movie just made $160 million. IT’S THE THIRD HIGHEST OPENING IN HISTORY AND THE FIRST ONE IN 2D. There are a lot of movie who can’t reach that milestone in its entire run. Yeah people were afraid of going to the movies, I even expected the opening to drop because of that to a 120 – 130 million. Here in Mexico there are already 30,000 tickets sold, all Imax theatres are sold out until Tuesday.

    • Because it didn’t live up to the hype.

      • Well said Henry.

        Mind your expectations, and you’re rarely disappointed imo.

  10. The next question will be which film has the longer legs. :) Eight O’clock showing tonight at the local digital IMAX for ‘Dark Knight Rises’ was sold out 30 minutes before the show. That doesn’t mean anything but I’m sure the legs subject will come up somewhere…

  11. The avengers movie is nothing more than the latest band wagon movie which took on board millions of sheep like viewers. It can be likened to the same effect the hang over movies had! The Dark Knight is and always will be a legend! If the unfortunate events that took place in colorado did not happen.. then the Dark Knight would have crushed the avengers.

    Plus.. the Dark Knight movies have done better one on one than any of the avenger’s individual movies could have dreamt of doing… Lets wait for the Justice League to come out.. we’ll see then.


  12. I don’t understand people that keeps on comparing two different type of movie aside from both being CB. I’m a BATMAN fan but i never really expect B3 (The Bat, The Brute & The Burglar) to top TA. I mean an assembled superheroes against one iconic comic book hero. I’m just glad that I were able to watch these movies and that they were made. It would be a shame though if TDKR tops TA. Both were excellent TA is fun while TDKR for me is SUPERB. TA can be compare to JL if it is even made. But the fact still remains that an assembled superheroes and the most iconic comic book hero can’t still beat a Colored Blue Alien Race.

  13. I fell in Love with this website so fast. You guys used to have very interesting articles with valuable content. I understand you need traffic but keep the integrity guys. Very disappointing at this article who is pointless when you are comparing a 2d movie to a 3d movie. you guys should watch THE NEWSROOM on HBO for some inspiration.

  14. what full of crap! understand that BATMAN is a one man show while AVENGERS are a freakin choir! Do the math!

    • Ha, very well said.

  15. I think what would be a better way to look at the film strength is through ticket sales rather then grosses.

    The Dark Knight Rises sold 20,314,100 tickets opening weekend. The Dark Knight sold 22,062,900 tickets opening weekend and The Avengers sold 26,191,800 tickets opening weekend. So TDKR sold 1.7 million tickets less then TD and 5.8 million tickets less then TA.

    No one can know for sure what would have happened had the weekend shooting not occured but, considering the fact that TDKR opened on roughly 100 screens more then TA and TDK and factoring in the negative effects of the shootings I would argue the film was probably going to sell a slightly higher ticket estimate then the DK maybe at 22.5 million tickets which would have put its opening around the $170-175 million mark. Consider that without 3D surcharges TA would have made $182 million.

    I dont think the film would have sold as many tickets as TA simply because they were marketed very differently. TA was a team up movie of 7 superheros and with them its seven fanbases (Hulk Iron Man Captain Amerian Thor Hawkeye Black Widow and The Avengers/S.H.E.I.L.D team) that essentially had five years of marketing and build up through its individual superhero films, it was made to be accessible to the masses (a four quandrant film) and was heavily marketed to children through the Disney Channel TDKR was marketed as the end of a trilogy installment by Nolan for a singular superhero, that was aimed at a slightly older audience and who reputation of realistic violence was always going to be at risk at alienating young children and in terms of comic book lore lacked a villian with the flashiness of Heath Ledger’s Joker. They are two very different films and were marketed as such and to compare them is like comparing apples with oranges.

    (I would argue the differences between the two films is what makes them each so superb. With TA you get pure unadultered fun, and a have a blast. With TDKR you get something darker, compelling and thought provoking. To me its like being able to appreciate love and enjoy both Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Godfather. The best of both worlds.)

    Box office predictions are mainly based on studio estimates- as in RIVAL studios. Its in their best interest to over inflate estimates and therefore expectations so that when a film doesn’t open to the unrealistic figures they can get sites like this one to write articles making the film sound like a monumental disappointment for not living up to an opening it was probably never going to anyway. I think for sure there was alot of overestimating and inflating going on in the days leading up to TDKR premiere. I also dont think its a coincidence that the films opening numbers were leaked to the press before the WB had made an official annoucement. Hollywood studio do this all the time as part of their game with each other over bragging rights.

    The fact that there isn’t a vast difference between ticket sales for TDK TA and TDKR particularly given the horrible circumstances of that weekend I think TDKR did ETREMEMLY well and its a testament to the popularity of Nolan’s films and the Batman character- who is still the highest grossing individual superhero characters even if you look at the performance of the 90’s film- that it achieved the opening it did in unprecendented and tragic circumstances. It’ll be a shame if this film which is looking at a $400 million plus domestic close ($800-900 million plus worldwide close) will be considered a flop simply because it failed to live up to the avengers grossess when it was arguably never going to anyway.

    • Well said, sir. I agree with everything you said.

    • How dare you bring logic and cold hard numbers into this heated and opinionated discussion!

      • lol, nice one Mongoose.

        Good post TLP, summed up nicely.

  16. Thanks guys! I guess Im just a little surprised how the film seems to be associated with being a disappointment or a bomb, when its made in its first week what alot of other films- including some comic book films- dont make in their entire run.

    Also something else to add, this weekend the film should make back its entire rumored $400 million budget (production plus marketing) which means from here on out its got around 20-30 weeks of pure profit and about two to three weeks without any serious competition on the horizon, Total Recall and the next Bourne film are probably its next closets competitor.

    The film is also currently performing consistenly at around $10 million dollars less then The Dark Knight in daily grosses domestically. So if the film can maintain that difference the film should hypotetically close at $500-520 million. Now its just a case of whether without the buzz of Heath Ledger’s Joker TDKR can maintain The Dark Knights longevity. But if if can pull in another couple of strong weekends I think all bets may be off.

  17. well, but a huge box office doesn’t mean a great movie

  18. @ The Avenger

    Nope, no hard feelings. At least we were able to keep it civilized, unlike other debates in comment sections.

    I’m not even sure if you’ll see this because it’s way down here. The comment system didn’t let me reply to that thread any more.