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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