No matter how you feel about it, The Dark Knight Rises' box office performance has solidified Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy as the most critically acclaimed and financially successful comic book movie trilogy of all time. According to weekday totals, the film has now officially crossed the $300 million mark at the U.S. box office, putting it in line with The Hunger Games and The Avengers as one of the only films in 2012 to earn that distinction.
Exhibitor Relations made the official announcement via Twitter; Dark Knight Rises had an impressive early week take, earning about $8 million and $8.7 million on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. For overall comparison with the previous films:Batman Begins culminated with a $205 million domestic take, while The Dark Knight took in $533 million at the U.S. box office. For Marvel fans with a rival streak to feed: Avengers currently sits at $615 million in domestic earnings.
There is, of course, no real way to determine just how much the Colorado massacre and/or lack of 3D ticket price affected Dark Knight Rises' earnings - and really, it's not something that should even be a major topic of debate. A shorter runtime and 3D premium certainly gave Avengers an edge, but The Dark Knight Rises is still going strong and even it finishes somewhere in the $300 - 400 million range, domestically, that will be a victory; the movie's earnings have already covered its $250 million production budget (not even including future earnings in coming weeks and international profits).
Moreover, unlike its neighbors in the "big winners" category of 2012 films, TDKR has - as mentioned - locked up Nolan and the franchise's legacy as one of the best (critically and in popular in opinion) and most profitable (nearly 2 billion and counting) movie trilogies of all time. You start adding in all the money that Batman films have taken in since Tim Burton's 1989 feature, and the competition quickly gets left behind. As far as superheroes go, Batman rules the box office.
Of course, there is a tricky future ahead for the franchise. With Nolan officially gone, and WB/DC possibly planning their own shared movie universe (possibly headed by this guy named Superman you may have heard of), it's going to be interesting to see how the studio builds the Batman brand from here.
We'll be sure to keep you informed of the latest.
Dark Knight Rises is currently playing in theaters.