Weekend Box Office: The Late Report

This week’s box office report comes a day later than usual for what should be obvious reasons. It’s hard to talk about studio success and still show respect for the victims of Friday’s tragedy in Colorado and their families. I’ll keep try my best to keep this focused.

Before we can talk about the opening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘, we need to talk about the constantly evolving film industry. Now that 3D generates noticeably higher grosses for films, 3D openings cannot be compared to 2D openings. This has never been more evident than now. ‘The Avengers’ trumped the best opening weekend of all time just a few months ago. Of course, inflated 3D ticket prices influenced its success. Had 3D not been in that movie’s favor, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (arguably) could have nabbed the “Best Opening of All Time” title. We now need a new category: Best Opening for a 2D Film. After this weekend, the huge $160.9 million three-day opening for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ would earn that title.

There’s no way of gauging what it would have done otherwise, but there’s also no doubt that the Colorado shooting took its toll on the opening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. After pulling in $30.6 million in midnight ticket sales (enough to place it second in that category next to ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’) and generating $19 million on domestic IMAX screens, I saw three-day weekend estimates that ranged from $180 million to $210 million. As of today, it seems that the losses are being counted modestly, somewhere between the $10 and $15 million ranges. It’s sad to think that the film could have performed better, but no one is complaining.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ also added another $88 million in 17 foreign markets. After just three days, the final chapter to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy has earned $249 million worldwide – and it’s not even done opening overseas yet. In a kind gesture, Warner Bros. will reportedly donate a “substantial” sum of money to a charity that will disperse it amongst the families and victims of the July 20th shooting.

After Friday’s box office, Fox announced how its studio was affected by the shooting. Second-week attendance for the animated flick ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift‘ dropped off severely. Parents presumably did not want to take their children to theaters. Slipping 56.2%, ‘Ice Age’ only pulled in 20.4 million.

As predicted, Batman’s big screen comic book competition, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man‘, took a box office beating in the shadow of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Spidey slipped a painful 68.6% and only earned $10.8 million in its third weekend.

The critically acclaimed ‘The Queen of Versailles‘ had a very strong opening in just three theaters. Earning an average of $17,109 per screen, this documentary brought in a total of $51,326. Also opening on three screens, ‘The Well-Digger’s Daughter‘ didn’t fare so well, earning just $3,424 per screen and $10,273 in total. Even worse was ‘30 Beats‘, which brought in an average of just $575 on each of its 15 screens, for a not-so-grand total of $8,624.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Warner Bros.) – $160,887,295

2. ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ (Fox) – $20,416,978

3. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (Sony) – $10,887,111

4. ‘Ted’ (Universal) – $10,011,610

5. ‘Brave’ (Buena Vista) – $6,024,987

6. ‘Magic Mike’ (Warner Bros.) – $4,291,432

7. ‘Savages’ (Universal) – $3,398,880

8. ‘Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection’ (Lionsgate) – $2,253,074

9. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (Focus) – $1,831,471

10. ‘To Rome with Love’ (Sony Pictures Classics) – $1,420,891


  1. Shannon Nutt

    Actually we need THREE categories. IMAX prices are inflated as well…so what we really need is 1)A category for IMAX + 3D + General; 2)a cateogry for IMAX + General; and 3)a category for general. I guess there are also some films that are 3-D but not IMAX? So maybe we need FOUR categories. 🙂

    There are a lot of movies that get neither the IMAX nor 3D treatment.

  2. Drew

    It makes me sick that the psychotic sob that committed such a heinous act, potentially cost ‘TDKR’ the overall opening weekend record.

    I read on another site that 15% – 20% of pre-ordered tickets were returned and refunded, and that attendance of those that actually showed up at the box office to buy their ticket was reduced by at least 20% from what was projected.

    The bottom line is, ‘TDKR’ would have most certainly broke the opening record, and the other films would have performed much better as well.

    We can add this to the list…

    ‘Avengers’ will forever have an asterisk next to it’s opening weekend record.

  3. Drew

    One more point. ‘TDKR’ didn’t need 3D to beat ‘Avengers’.

    ‘The Avengers’ needed a sick mad man to beat ‘TDKR’.

    I don’t think we need to differentiate between 3D and non-3D opening weekends.

  4. Jason

    The Avengers had a very strong run and it’s receipts reflected the positive word of mouth that the film generated. There’s no doubt that The Dark Knight Rises was hurt by the horrible event of the midnight show but many of the people I’ve talked to have only been ho-hum about the film after seeing it. I’m not sure that it’ll have the staying power The Avengers did.

  5. Drew


    I agree. It’s more polarizing, and less feel good. It won’t have the same type of legs. ‘Avengers’ was bubble gum pop in a super hero film. Much more user friendly.

    It would have definitely broken the opening weekend record though. If none of the pre-ordered tickets would have been refunded, and nobody was freaked out about going to the theater, it would have brought in 210 – 225 million.

  6. StarMenace

    Absolute record keeping should really be by ticket sales, that way there’s no need to track if it was in 3D+IMAX, 2D+IMAX, 3D+regular screens, and regular screens. You could also just have two, or three, categories, total sales in dollars (either in total or by splitting 3D and 2D) and total tickets sold.

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