The Dark Knight’s Box Office Burn-up Continues

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

joker burning money in tdk The Dark Knights Box Office Burn up Continues

After its third weekend in theaters, The Dark Knight was not only number one again, (a rarity these days,) it now sits at number eight on the top ten all-time domestic box office earners. It’s made $393.75 million in seventeen days of release (as of Sunday August 3, 2008), and is currently sitting just below Spider-Man ($403.7 million), and should overtake the web slinger’s spot by the time you read this.

The Dark Knight has shattered nearly all records, including best midnight screening gross ($18.5 million); one-day opening gross ($67.1 million); opening weekend gross ($158.3 million); it hit $200 million in five days, $300 million in ten days; and it look like Bats is poised to hit $400 million in just eighteen days! (It took Shrek 2 forty-three days to bank that much.)

TDK may even pass the $500 million mark after next weekend, though the start of the 2008 Olympics might hurt it, along with Pineapple Express, which opens smartly on Wednesday, August 6. (Those August/Seth Rogan/Judd Apatow comedies tend to do really well.)

If The Dark Knight does pass $500 million, it has a real shot at beating Titanic, whose final domestic box office take was a monstrous $600.8 million. But that movie was number one at the box office for four months straight until it got knocked off by Lost in Space (and that’s about all LIS is really known for, since it was pretty lame.)

Anyway, there are several things that we can attribute to the success of TDK:

A) Batman has always been hot property. For those old enough to remember 1989, the Tim Burton film was a marketing hit, with the movie and merchandising combining for some $plendid returns.

B) TDK‘s ad campaign, which officially started in May of 2007 with an online viral marketing movement, featured a contest that revealed the horrifying visage of the Joker, and went on to arguably redefine the way movies are marketed from now on. (You’ve changed things, TDK, there’s no going back.)

C) A truly excellent film from Christopher Nolan, with an impeccable script by Nolan, his brother Jonathan and comic movie guru David S. Goyer. TDK has earned top marks from critics and audiences alike, (94% at Rotten Tomatoes,) and that combination, aided by good word-of-mouth and repeat viewings, usually results in a big winner. And since it’s still cheaper to go to the movies than, say, traveling (at least for now,) it’s no surprise that more people are going to the movies for their summer kicks. (Take a look at the $300 million+ grosses of the invincible Iron Man and Indiana Jones 4, if you want further proof that movies still rule the summer entertainment niche.)

D) Since TDK is hitting all four box office quadrants, (men and women, above and below the age of twenty-five,) it’s going to continue to be a hit. Women LOVE this movie, especially those in the coveted 18-34 bracket. My girlfriend Marina’s sister, Ericca, has seen it at least three times, (maybe four by now.) She even wears TDK shirts like I wear Iron Man shirts! And if you haven’t realized it yet: it’s women who tend to drive the box office (cough, Titanic, cough.

Lastly, Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and the other stars of TDK are, generally speaking, popular actors. (Not you though, Eric Roberts.) And yes, Heath Ledgers’ unfortunate death also comes into play; however I think more audience members are being mesmerized by his amazing performance as the Joker, (Jack who?), and that’s the real reason they’re returning for second, third, or fourth viewings: they need more Heath.

Internationally, the movie stands at $202.5 million, with more territories for it to open in. It has made nearly $600 million so far, worldwide.

I’ll update again in a week or two, as TDK continues plowing through records. There are other films it’s beaten out, but I just don’t have room to name them all!

Check out our previous Dark Knight coverage to get the full scoop on this cinematic phenomenon. And keep in mind, by the way, that Batman Begins only made $205 million domestically, and it took about two months to do it! (Talk about the right kind of e$calation!)

Source: Box Office Mojo, Yahoo! News

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  1. I still dont think it will beat Titanic but it will end up a very strong number 2.

  2. Well the nay-sayers are eating a lot of humble pie right now. Does this qualify as some kind of, Perfect Synergy or what?

  3. Its the perfect storm of bats.

    Titanics gonna sink,, that will be the headline too.

  4. well its a text book example of how to sell a film thats for sure.

  5. Well they got my nine dollars. I’d like to see it again, but I have been too busy lately to head to the theater to watch a movie I have already seen. Probably should have seen it again instead of wasting my cash on X-Files….

  6. it’ll definately beat Titantic, itll stake make money for the next month.

    Also, that’s a little unfair to point out TDK re-defining marketing…that’s been done by other films and TV shows for years now. TDK just used that idea. I don’t think they re-defined it because their movie is the most successful.

  7. Lost in Space??? Was that just a typo? What box office records does Lost in Space hold?

  8. ROB<
    I wasnt trying to be unfair.
    I should have pointed out Viral marketing specifically.
    they have used it quite skillfully and in my opinion, more agressively then most.
    what other time have we seen so much viral marketing for one film?

  9. Well…TDK keeps shattering records, and it has every right to do so..TDK deserves it! if there is 1 movie that truly delivered the past years its the TDK! What a movie..and what a performance by Heath! i still cant get my head around his acting…superb!

  10. Lost in Space knocked Titanic off the number one block, and that’s about it. I once met the producer–he spoke to my film school class. He told us Akiva Goldsman, in 1995/1996, was making $15,000 per page!!

    Updated info: The Dark Knight passed $400 million Monday, and stands at that number, almost even. It’s still below Spidey, which is surprising!


  11. Ok. That makes sense. The way it was worded sounded like you were saying that Lost in Space topped Titanic’s consecutive weeks at number one streak.

  12. Glad you clarifid that Heath.
    I kept racking my brain and all I could remember was that Lost in Space had a $20 million dollar weekend and that was it.
    at lest the SCRIPT was profitable !
    Now there is a movie that should be remade!
    With a different story of course.

  13. So as to protect the sensibilities of readers worldwide we’ve edit the Lost in Space bit to read a bit more clearly.

  14. Very nice Mr. Mcknight. I will agree I saw it for the fourth time Sunday night, he he, had to get my Heath fix. I like how you mentioned TDK has “changed things” I think I may have the whole movie memorized which is sad & btw it will totally beat Titanic=)

  15. With all the reported problems the actors are having (death of Ledger, Bale being arrested, Freeman getting injured), I wonder if some Titanic sorcerer put a hex on the movie. :-)

    I haven’t gone back to see it again but I plan on it. Titanic was number 1 for over a month? I didn’t know that. Must have been a bad year for movies.

  16. Titanic was number one from mid-December until mid- to late-April. Even Man in the Iron Mask (with Leo D) couldn’t beat it, but his name brand made that movie a TON of money. Two leos? girls everywhere fainted.

    1998 sucked for movies, overall. Spanish Prisoner and Last Days of Disco rocked, though. And The Rock, too.


  17. It’s official: TDK passes Spidey Tuesday 8-5-08 to become the top super hero movie of all time. It’s at number 7 on the all time domestic box offices, and will probably pass Dead Man’s Chest (Pirates 2) in a few days. It’s sitting at $405.7 million. I predict it will be at around $450 million by Monday, more or less.

    It’ll be the number 2 movie (domestically) of all time, discounting inflation of course, by Sunday August 17.

    It is slowing down, so it may not beat Titanic. But we’ll see! If it’s number one again, holy crap!


  18. Thanks for the release dates on Titanic, Heath. They timed the release of that movie perfectly. Middle of the winter to early spring, usually a dull time for movies. I think that makes what TDK is doing even more impressive. It’s cranking out the #1′s in the height of the summer movie season. The fact that it beat of the new Mummy movie last weekend was impressive.

    Does anyone think there will be an X-Files 3? I doubt it.

  19. Btw, August and September are bad months, like January, for movies to open, generally speaking. It’s the two months between summer ending and the fall prestigious movies opening.