Weekend Box Office: Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel

For the third week in a row, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ not only topped the U.S. charts, but the international box office as well. Adding another $36.4 million to its domestic haul and $67 million from international markets, Christopher Nolan’s final Batman flick has now grossed a total of $733 million in just 17 short days. (That’s $354.6 million from domestic showings and $378.4 million internationally.) Nobody doubted the long legs that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ would show, so why Sony would schedule a competing action flick to open against it this weekend is beyond me.

Box Office Mojo points out a frightening observation about one of this week’s fizzling new releases. The unimpressive opening for ‘Total Recall‘ mirrors this summer’s flop ‘Battleship’. Both films opened to nearly identical box office totals (‘Battleship’ with $25.5 million, ‘Total Recall’ with $26 million), and they both hit the big screen two weeks after a major comic book movie (‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ respectively). Assuming that ‘Recall’ slips further next weekend, it could also fall victim to an established franchise sequel opening just one week later. (‘Battleship’ was hurt by ‘Men in Black 3’, and ‘Total Recall’ could potentially be destroyed by ‘The Bourne Legacy’). Should this trend hold, ‘Recall’ might finish with the same disappointing $65.2 million total that ‘Battleship’ did, which is a very scary thought.

As the third entry in the franchise, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days‘ did what most three-quels do: It suffered a massive drop-off. The second ‘Wimpy Kid’ movie, ‘Rodrick Rules‘, opened to an impressive $23.8 million last summer. ‘Dog Days’, however, only managed to bring in $14.7 million this weekend. It’s nice to see a bad franchise finally get what it deserves. It seems that parents were still inclined to take their families out to four-week-old ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift‘, which grossed another $8.4 million this weekend, dropped to fourth place and brought the film’s domestic haul to $131.8 million.

From what I’ve been told, the only comedic aspect of ‘The Watch‘ worth laughing at is how bad the movie’s tanking at the box office. Its second weekend pushed it into the #5 spot with a 50.2% attendance drop that only added another $6.3 million to its $25.3 million domestic total. Why the movie cost $68 million to produce is beyond me, but I doubt that it will get out of the red anytime soon. I guess I’ll see if it’s really as bad as everyone says when it plays every Saturday afternoon on Comedy Central starting in January.

In the Top 10 for six weeks now, ‘Ted‘ continues to perform strongly. The raunchy Seth McFarlane comedy has only slipped to the #6 spot and has now grossed more than $200 million domestically. I’ll bet that Fox execs are really kicking themselves for shooting down this $50-million movie and green-lighting the busted $68 million ‘The Watch’ instead.

Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg’s indie romantic dramedy ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever‘ performed quite well on four screens, earning a total of $112,000. The ensemble drama ‘360‘ did just fine on two screens with $12,600. But the laughing stock of this weekend’s indie releases is Jay Chandrasekhar’s crude comedy ‘The Babymakers‘, which only earned $5,800 on 11 screens. That’s a $527 per-screen average. Whose lizard is broken now?

Top 10:

1. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Warner Bros.) – $36,440,000

2. ‘Total Recall’ (Sony) – $26,000,000

3. ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days’ (Fox) – $14,700,000

4. ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ (Fox) – $8,400,000

5. ‘The Watch’ (Fox) – $6,350,000

6. ‘Ted’ (Universal) – $5,479,000

7. ‘Step Up Revolution’ (Summit) – $5,300,000

8. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (Sony) – $4,300,000

9. ‘Brave’ (Buena Vista) – $2,890,000

10. ‘Magic Mike’ (Warner Bros.) – $1,380,000


  1. JM

    $310M just got ‘Prometheus 2’ green-lit and Lindelof fired.

    Sony must be doing damage control. ‘Total Recall’s budget was just downgraded from $200M to $125M. If the three-breasted prostitute makes $47M in US theaters, she will be acceptably profitable.

    Day 17 in the US… TDK = $393M > TDKR = $354M.

    Pixar’s ‘Brave’ still hasn’t made as much bling as ‘Titanic 3D.’

    At $283M, today is the day that ‘Ted’ rapes ‘John Carter.’

    And with $220K, ‘Killer Joe’ is now the 21st highest-grossing NC-17 of all time.

  2. William Henley

    I have no intrest in “Total Recall”. Some movies just don’t need to be remade. If the movie still took place on Mars, I might have went to go see it, but now I have no intrest.

    Prometheus is now at the dollar theater, so I may go see that this weekend. So is Snow White, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Men In Black 3, Battleship, and The Hunger Games. May have to catch some cheap movies over the next couple of weeks.

    • Does ‘dollar theater’ (a phenomenon I’m unfamiliar with) really mean movies only cost one buck? Literally “$1”? Sounds too good to be true!

      We only have “regular theaters”. Even films that play for 53 weeks (a feat achieved by Braveheart in 1996) will still cost the normal asking price of a ticket.

      • EM

        Traditionally, yes, but that’s an increasingly rare phenomenon. In the city where I live, the so-called “dollar theater” was for a while charging $2 per show before it finally closed up altogether several years ago. In America, at least, there are contexts in which dollar is meant to suggest low prices that are not necessarily $1. For example, a “dollar store” may sell some of its merchandise for more than $1 (but still cheap)—or even less than $1; or “dollar days” may refer to periods of discounts in general.

        You may recall that when Disneyland Paris opened, it was originally called Euro Disneyland. I’ve often heard that one of the reasons for the name change was the identification of Euro with the currency of the same name. However, I’ve never heard why that was a problem: did Euro sound misleadingly cheap à la dollar as in the above examples? or, on the other hand, did it sound too expensive or mercenary (perhaps not so misleadingly)?

        • Oh no. The name ‘Euro Disney’ was coined in 1989, back when they were planning the park (which opened in 1992). The currency, the euro, has been used since 2002. ‘Euro Disney’ was short for ‘European Disney’, as in, ‘the first Disney park in Europe’. It changed its name to ‘Disneyland Paris’ in 1996, for the better. For a while, it was called ‘Disney Resort Paris’, but now it’s back to ‘Disneyland Paris’. The best choice, in my opinion.

          • EM

            Euro notes and coins began circulation in 2002, but the euro went into effect (locked against the currencies it replaced, and available for accounting and contractual purposes) in 1999—indeed, I made purchases in euros via the Web before 2002. Of course, the euro was planned over a period of time; according to Wikipedia, the name for the future currency was officially adopted in 1995, ergo in time for the 1996 Disney name change.

          • William Henley

            From the Wikipedia Entry

            In 2002, Disney’s CEO noted,[19]

            As Americans, the word ‘Euro’ is believed to mean glamorous or exciting. For Europeans it turned out to be a term they associated with business, currency, and commerce. Renaming the park ‘Disneyland Paris’ was a way of identifying it with one of the most romantic and exciting cities in the world.

            —Michael Eisner

            So EM is right.

          • EM

            Eisner, whom I don’t particularly trust, might have also been leaving out another factor: the euro’s negative political associations (for some people, to varying degrees at various times). The powers that be (mice) may have wanted to sidestep those controversies, too. Sounds wise to me.

          • William Henley

            Yeah, that’s a good point. My experience seems to be that Europeans value their individual countries individuality, and don’t care to be classified together as “Europeans”, although I am going to use the term here for lack of a better one.

            Funny how we went from a topic about “Total Recall” to Disneyland Paris. 🙂 Good discussion, and very educational.

      • William Henley

        Its also nice when you notice that 3D shows are only $3.25. Also, while most of the theater is Digital, they still have like 2 or 3 auditoriums that still show film. In the past, dollar theaters used to get film that had really been treated rough, but now, with so few theaters using film, everything I have seen there on film looks like its new.

        Its not the nicest theater – shoot, it has got to be 30 years old, but if there is a movie I am interested in, and don’t feel like paying $10-$15 to see it on opening weekend, I usually pick it up there. Great place to see films that I probably otherwise wouldn’t see – like Red Tails, A Better Life, Apollo 18 (man, I am glad I only paid $1.25, and I was debating on demanding my money back from that!), and great for seeing movies again between the first-runs and the Blu-Ray releases (I saw Captain America there three times – and I still came out cheaper than what I paid to go see it at the Rave, even though I saw it in 3D).

          • William Henley

            Needless to say, the dollar theater does really well – when they actually have good movies showing, like now. And with it still being summer, I bet they are raking in the money this week, especially as people actually buy their popcorn and hotdogs at $4 each (and they are some of the worst I have ever had).

            What is ironic is that they are only a few blocks away from a Rave, and a few miles from an upper-scale theater with a true film IMAX. Yeah, you can easily spend $15 just to get into a movie in this area if its on a big screen (XD, Xream, or Imax) in 3D, or I can just wait a month or two and catch the movie at the dollar theater.

            Of course, I did see TDKR at the Imax! 🙂 Kinda had to.

            There is another theater that opened up about a year ago in my area. Its a first-run theater, but its like not a big chain. I catch movies there from time to time, as they have $4 matinees and are like $6 for their regular shows for 2D movies. And they have dollar hot dogs, and they are actually GOOD!. Granted, its not as nice as a Rave or an AMC, but if I just want to go see a new movie and don’t mind watching it on a Sony projector that they left the 3D filter on, I go there (in fact, if its not in the main auditorium, they don’t have 3D filters at all. And you have good sized screens and small auditoriums, except in the main one, which I like, because, especially on a weekday matinee (I am off Thursdays and Fridays), its like I have the theater to myself).

            So, yeah, we have the dollar theaters, the $4 theaters, and then the premium first one theaters.

            And there was just a news article that they are opening up a new drive-in here. All digital, and they are going to simulcast different audio tracks – mainly English and Spanish, but they also talked that they might have some video descriptive tracks. Interesting idea, will have to see if it pans out. I will have to give you guys a review after it opens up next year.

          • Does the total box office tally take the grosses of the dollar theaters into account?

            I can imagine a quasi-flopped movie still make a profit when thousands of gents will see it for a $1.25 or $3.25!

            These dollar theaters are a great idea. We need this over here! Does NY have them? I’m going to the Big Apple in September.

          • William Henley

            I would assume they get figured into the totals. The dollar theaters are toward the end of the theatrical run, and there have been cases when I have seen movies hit blu-ray before they hit the dollar theater. This seems to be happening more and more as they try to shorten the time between theatrical opening and Home-video release.

  3. Ben

    Interesting statistic, the original Total Recall in 1990 debuted with 25.5 million in its opening weekend, pretty much on par with this remake’s OW debut, despite 22 years of inflation.

    • Also, the original Total Recall had a budget of $65 million, compared to either $125 million or $200 million (depending on which report you believe) for this one.

  4. Drew

    “Dollar” theatre grossed are definitely included in the overall box office figures.

    This is why you will see a popular film fall out of the top 20 — or even fall off the charts altogether — and then re-emerge somewhere in the 10-20 spot.

    When a movie opens in the discount theatres, it’s box office will pick back up for a few weeks, until the next big film opens in the “Dollar” theatre, and cools it off.

    Just watch the box office charts. ‘The Hunger Games’, which debuted in March, actually made more money than ‘The Avengers’ and some other newer big films over the past few weekends. This is because ‘THG’ has been playing in the discount theatres, and drawing big attendance in them, while the newer blockbusters are struggling to get anybody to see them in the premier theatres.