Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Kapow! The Bat Slams The Box Office

Box Office Records Smashed

by | July 20, 2008 | Comments

The eagerly awaited new Batman film The Dark Knight broke the all-time opening weekend box office record and drove the overall North American marketplace to the largest frame in history with moviegoers dumping over $250M into theater cash registers over three days. The new musical Mamma Mia! managed to connect with its non-superhero fan base and posted a strong opening of its own in Knight‘s shadow while the animated comedy Space Chimps debuted to mild numbers. After back-to-back weekends when ticket sales were softer than last year’s, the box office soared to heights never before seen.




Records fell this weekend thanks to sky high demand to see the latest Caped Crusader vehicle The Dark Knight which hauled in a jaw-dropping $155.3M over the Friday-to-Sunday period to set a new industry benchmark. Averaging a stunning $35,579 from 4,366 theaters, the PG-13 comic book flick edged past the previous opening weekend record of $151.1M held by another superhero sequel Spider-Man 3 from the first weekend of May last year. The Peter Parker pic even had more total screens with roughly 10,000 which was about 800 more than Knight‘s tally. Batman’s gross included $18.5M from Thursday night shows between midnight and 3am which also set a record beating the $16.9M of 2005’s Star Wars Episode III. Critics piled on praise for the $180M-budgeted Dark Knight which scored some of the best reviews of the year.

The new Batman film reunited director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale who successfully rebooted the franchise with 2005’s Batman Begins after the series was left for dead after 1997’s disastrous Batman & Robin starring George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Begins opened on a Wednesday in mid-June with $48.7M over three days and $72.9M over its five-day opening period leading to a solid $205.3M domestic final. The Dark Knight will surpass that mark in under a week’s time. Veteran character actors Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman also returned while Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Heath Ledger joined the cast. Ledger’s acclaimed performance as The Joker became a magnet attracting millions of comic and action fans and his accidental death in January only heightened the curiosity factor making the must-see film of 2008.




The Dark Knight blew open the bank vault door on Friday and made off with an eye-popping $67.9M (including Thursday night midnight sales) smashing the records for best opening day and best single day gross ever. Both of those marks were held by Spider-Man 3 with $59.8M. Sales fell sharply on Saturday by 29% to $48M, still an amazing haul, and Warner Bros. is estimating that Sunday’s gross will slip by only 18% and come in at $39.5M. Knight‘s Saturday and Sunday tallies were the second best ever. The Spidey threequel can still claim those records with $51.3M and $39.9M, respectively. Rival studios on Sunday projected a three-day tally between $151-153M. Final numbers will be released on Monday.

Also adding excitement to the film’s release was the fact that Dark Knight was the first regular movie to use IMAX cameras during filming. Six action sequences were shot with the heavy-duty equipment allowing those who see the film in IMAX theaters a greater entertainment experience. This helped Knight set a new record for biggest IMAX opening with $6.2M from 94 venues this weekend for a scorching $66,000 average. Ticket prices are also higher for the large screen format.

After just three days of release, The Dark Knight is already the sixth biggest blockbuster of the summer and is virtually guaranteed to swipe the 2008 box office crown away from Iron Man in the coming weeks. With all students out of school in July, midweek grosses will be much stronger than in early May when the metal man and the last webslinger pic debuted.

This weekend’s achievement was nothing new for the Caped Crusader. In fact, Dark Knight is the fourth Batman film to break the all-time opening weekend record. The first Batman did the deed in 1989 with its $42.7M bow at a time when no film had ever debuted to $30M, much less $40M, over a three-day weekend. That record stayed for three years and was broken in 1992 by Batman Returns which bowed to $47.7M. Jurassic Park would swipe the record the following summer but Batman Forever took the title back with its $52.8M launch in 1995. All three Batman films opened in mid-June.




Warner Bros. did not opt for a global attack with The Dark Knight, but it did release the superhero pic in 20 markets this weekend and grossed an estimated $40M from 4,500 international screens led by Australia’s $13.1M over five days. Many European markets open this coming weekend including Italy and the United Kingdom while Asia’s top markets Japan and Korea will launch in early August.

Led by the staggering sales for the new Batman-Joker feud, the overall box office soared to more than $255M in ticket sales making it the best weekend in movie history. The previous high was $218.4M over the July 7-9, 2006 frame when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest bowed to a then-record $135.6M. Studios are hoping that the roughly 36 million moviegoers who saw trailers and posters at multiplexes this weekend will keep coming back in the weeks ahead for more summer films.

Opening in second place with a solid showing of its own was the Meryl Streep-led musical Mamma Mia! which bowed to an estimated $27.6M for Universal. The PG-13 film averaged a stellar $9,276 from 2,976 locations performing just like last summer’s musical hit Hairspray which debuted to $27.5M this very weekend. Mamma, which also stars Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Christine Baranski, played to an audience of adult women with studio data showing that 75% of the crowd was female while 64% was over the age of 30.

It was aimed as an alternative to Dark Knight and the strategy worked like a charm. Streep’s The Devil Wears Prada received the same treatment bowing to a similar $27.5M against Superman Returns two summers ago on its way to a sensational $124.7M domestic and $325M worldwide.




Mamma Mia! has already been playing to sell-out crowds overseas over the last two weeks. This weekend, the $65M production bowed at number one in seven new territories including Germany and displayed great holds in existing markets like Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to total an estimated $26.8M weekend take. That propelled the international cume to $72.6M and the global gross to $100M with much more to come.

Falling one spot was Will Smith’s own take on being a superhero, Hancock, which tumbled 56% to an estimated $14M in its third outing. The Sony blockbuster has grossed a sturdy $191.5M in 19.5 days and is still following the same path as 2005’s Independence Day weekend offering War of the Worlds which had taken in $192.4M by the same point. That Tom Cruise pic finished its run with $234M and Hancock looks likely to end up with just under that amount. Globally, Smith’s latest zoomed to $444M and will crash through the half-billion barrier in a week.

The 3D adventure tale Journey to the Center of the Earth enjoyed a great hold despite the arrival of Batman and slipped only 43% in its second weekend to an estimated $11.9M. New Line’s final film has now taken in a solid $43.1M for distributor Warner Bros. and could be headed for a $75-80M final tally. The PG-rated Brendan Fraser film cost $60M to produce.

Last weekend’s superhero champ Hellboy II: The Golden Army got hit hardest by the folks of Gotham City. The Universal comic book actioner tumbled 71% to an estimated $10M dropping from first to fifth place. After ten days, the $85M production has collected $56.4M putting it just shy of the $59M that 2004’s Hellboy grossed during its entire run. Hellboy II should find its way to about $75M and become the summer’s only number one opener to not reach the $100M mark.




The animated wonder WALL•E declined by 48% and ranked sixth with an estimated $9.8M. Disney and Pixar have pushed the tally up to $182.5M and are hoping to keep going towards the $215M mark which should eventually put it slightly ahead of Kung Fu Panda to become the year’s top-grossing toon.

Fox saw an uneventful seventh-place bow for its animated offering Space Chimps which debuted to an estimated $7.4M. Playing in 2,511 theaters, the G-rated pic about, well… chimps in space, averaged a mild $2,927 per location. Fox has struggled this summer and remains the only one of the six major studios without a $100M hit this season. The studio’s hopes are pinned to this Friday’s launch of The X-Files: I Want to Believe which will try to persuade the bat-crowds to come its way.

Angelina Jolie’s Wanted dropped 58% to an estimated $5.1M giving Universal $123.3M to date. Warner Bros. followed with Get Smart which took in an estimated $4.1M, off 43%, for a $119.6M sum for Warner Bros. Paramount’s Kung Fu Panda rounded out the top ten with an estimated $1.8M in its seventh frame dropping 60% pushing the total to $206.5M.

The top ten films grossed a record estimate of $247M which was up a stellar 72% from last year when I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opened in the top spot with $34.2M; and up an astounding 80% from 2006 when Dead Man’s Chest spent a third weekend at number one with $35.2M.

Compared to projections, The Dark Knight flew higher than my $132M forecast while Mamma Mia! bowed on target with my $28M prediction. Space Chimps opened above my $5M projection.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

dogs LGBT Year in Review 72 Emmy Awards criterion Super Bowl cancelled TV series docuseries 2020 high school OneApp ITV Image Comics Best and Worst spy thriller mission: impossible ViacomCBS Paramount Network X-Men Mary poppins FX Marvel Emmys zombie cartoon genre Oscars Universal godzilla Marvel Television Elton John President rt labs critics edition boxing anime diversity Mary Tyler Moore prank rotten revenge festival First Look Sony Pictures Disney streaming service psychological thriller nature Avengers child's play free movies true crime 73rd Emmy Awards talk show BBC One Nominations Alien hispanic heritage month CNN DC Universe breaking bad Chernobyl Classic Film reviews spider-man comic books The CW Mudbound facebook saw king arthur live action young adult scary south america serial killer worst movies Schedule Exclusive Video Pacific Islander Academy Awards action-comedy harry potter Travel Channel name the review Tomatazos venice casting green book MCU stop motion Thanksgiving First Reviews franchise Christmas Musicals australia Black Mirror Anna Paquin 2017 Comic-Con@Home 2021 Pop Netflix Christmas movies 93rd Oscars Discovery Channel cults theme song Valentine's Day Amazon Prime Video Brie Larson Disney Ellie Kemper cancelled TV shows richard e. Grant medical drama spanish documentaries National Geographic screenings DC Comics 71st Emmy Awards Nickelodeon new york video on demand SXSW marvel cinematic universe Comics on TV Interview A&E YouTube Red spinoff renewed TV shows Legendary Horror 2016 Set visit technology doctor who concert scorecard popular AMC The Witch sequels 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards boxoffice streaming movies Certified Fresh sopranos APB nbcuniversal Acorn TV Sundance comic book movies NYCC politics halloween crime legend italian slasher suspense Disney+ Disney Plus dark sequel TV movies Crackle Trophy Talk hollywood Spectrum Originals blaxploitation political drama dceu 20th Century Fox cancelled television king kong spain The Walt Disney Company Lifetime Christmas movies Superheroes BBC America Video Games know your critic foreign halloween tv Columbia Pictures transformers sitcom docudrama DGA Winter TV Lucasfilm Syfy period drama Sci-Fi comics deadpool space Western telelvision mob crime thriller aapi golden globe awards Trivia posters Hallmark USA series comic Television Critics Association streaming fast and furious HBO Go Pride Month cooking zero dark thirty Hulu WarnerMedia Apple TV+ classics slashers Logo indie asian-american Pet Sematary Heroines quibi Esquire CMT Photos miniseries ABC Family 24 frames Awards universal monsters YouTube Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Holidays BET Awards Mystery Spike witnail FXX PlayStation Lifetime Vudu Action jamie lee curtis historical drama dragons Rock kong Reality Competition Rocky TBS Tokyo Olympics IMDb TV CBS Netflix ABC Signature Polls and Games PaleyFest Comic Book teaser hist chucky Pop TV Dark Horse Comics Animation binge Summer Universal Pictures TV Land kids lord of the rings Quiz Turner versus football TruTV Bravo blockbusters news Marathons strong female leads Captain marvel San Diego Comic-Con USA Network DirecTV VH1 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Character Guide CW Seed CBS All Access Comedy Central independent Turner Classic Movies crime drama E! Red Carpet dexter psycho twilight Countdown stoner Warner Bros. FOX PBS singing competition Amazon Prime sag awards adaptation rt archives 2018 Tarantino trailers Extras Disney Plus Freeform Fall TV GIFs basketball cats The Arrangement sports Fantasy adenture Stephen King Awards Tour Baby Yoda supernatural Biopics Epix Apple TV Plus Reality MTV Sneak Peek Infographic Star Trek gangster Endgame biography Tumblr international festivals Broadway movie kaiju ID Superheroe book werewolf christmas movies HBO Max obituary Sundance TV Fox News romantic comedy game of thrones YouTube Premium discovery wonder woman TV renewals game show vampires Teen book adaptation unscripted emmy awards BET Musical Food Network Premiere Dates Adult Swim LGBTQ spider-verse fresh The Walking Dead feel good GLAAD Cannes mutant GoT Opinion BAFTA canceled olympics documentary Drama Ghostbusters remakes Toys new zealand Grammys 2019 scene in color Creative Arts Emmys OWN Lionsgate Cosplay animated hidden camera Emmy Nominations Funimation dreamworks 90s comiccon disaster Family aliens live event VOD award winner based on movie Mindy Kaling TCM E3 Hallmark Christmas movies Podcast war Women's History Month rt labs SDCC Comedy 1990s YA screen actors guild Binge Guide TV New York Comic Con Star Wars joker TIFF Amazon art house The Purge TNT directors Amazon Studios batman adventure Television Academy vs. ghosts BBC HBO spanish language critics El Rey ESPN composers toy story cars MSNBC ratings best Crunchyroll Rocketman Cartoon Network 99% TLC Wes Anderson Ovation Paramount Plus Election Apple robots children's TV Spring TV monster movies 007 critic resources DC streaming service Marvel Studios Tubi VICE See It Skip It RT21 Nat Geo 2021 science fiction romance Martial Arts tv talk Writers Guild of America Hear Us Out Pixar Pirates Country Music stand-up comedy razzies History laika thriller japan rom-coms new star wars movies Shondaland Fox Searchlight TV One NBC Watching Series Arrowverse james bond TCA Winter 2020 video cancelled mockumentary parents Holiday American Society of Cinematographers biopic Calendar Instagram Live The Academy all-time Starz jurassic park FX on Hulu Showtime movies police drama films Shudder Peacock comedies black comedy french travel canceled TV shows Paramount marvel comics Mary Poppins Returns nfl toronto 21st Century Fox SundanceTV Walt Disney Pictures Song of Ice and Fire social media Film Festival Winners superman Black History Month japanese natural history women Neflix comic book movie Britbox Film archives hispanic 4/20 dc blockbuster TCA Awards anthology A24 Box Office a nightmare on elm street Sundance Now die hard elevated horror rotten movies we love RT History reboot Disney Channel 45 pirates of the caribbean zombies justice league Rom-Com royal family latino finale what to watch Trailer debate TCA WGN Kids & Family target IFC crossover black heist movie AMC Plus IFC Films television cinemax cops mcc 2015 satire scary movies indiana jones NBA golden globes ABC TCA 2017 Masterpiece superhero worst dramedy