July 22, 2008

Box Office Recap 7/18-7/20: The Dark Knight, 'Nuff Said

Wow! The Dark Knight turned in an absolutely monster weekend. Who would have thought it would climb this high? I recall visiting forums where some foolish souls predicted that The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor would make more than the Bat-sequel. Now, I know the Brendan Fraser film has not yet opened, but I think it can be safely assumed that it will not reach the Dark Knight figures. There were even those who thought it would fail to equal the take of Batman Begins, I am sure they are a little embarrassed now that it has opened with a gross of approximately 75% of the prior film's entire run gross. Care to take it back?

With $158 million already in the bank, I think it is safe to say this movie is a hit. What makes this record breaking opening taste even sweeter is that the movie is so extraordinarily good. This movie is, quite simply, jaw droppingly awesome. I sat there in rapt attention for each and every one of its 152 minutes. When it ended, my friends and I seriously thought about refusing to leave our seats until after a second screening.

We all know that The Dark Knight broke records this weekend, let's take a look at some of the records it now owns:

  • Widest opening release.
  • Biggest midnight open.
  • Biggest IMAX open.
  • Biggest July open.
  • Biggest Summer open.
  • Biggest single day gross.
  • Biggest opening weekend (3-day) gross of 2008.
  • Biggest opening weekend (3-day) gross of all time.
  • Biggest PG-13 open.
  • Fastest to $100 million.

I am sure there are more to come as it racks up the money during its first full week in release. Now, let me say that I cannot recommend this movie enough. It is certainly not the cheeriest piece of cinema out there, but it is endlessly compelling and Heath Ledger is an absolute force of nature. See this movie. Period.

The Dark Knight wasn't the only new kid on the marquee this week. Coming in a distant second place is the stage musical turned big screen film, Mamma Mia! This is a film which opened well with $27.7 million. It is a big, bright, sunny, feel good film that failed to connect with me.If you like this, you already know who you are. Unfortunately for me, it failed to deliver on the level that Hairspray did last year, now there is a tow tapping fun time at the cinema.

The other wide release this weekend is a low-rent animated affair called Space Chimps. On the surface level of the title alone it sounds like a can't miss proposition. You have space and chimps, it can't be anything but a match made in heaven, right? Guess again. This turned out to be a poorly animated, poorly thought out, often boring time in the theater. Even the kids seemed to be bored. I would recommend checking out either Wall*E or Kung Fu Panda again.

As for the rest of the field, last week's top film, Hellboy II: The Golden Army plummeted to fifth place, slipping more than 70%. I, like the studio, hoped it would catch The Dark Knight overflow, which does not seem to have happened. For some reason people stayed away from this endlessly imaginative and fun take on comic book material. Hopefully it will level off before catching a second wind on DVD.

Next week will see new competition from the Will Ferrell/John C. Reilley collaboration Step Brothers and X-Files: I Want to Believe, which, a week away from release has had a pretty poor promotional campaign.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (11) and Sex and the City (12).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NThe Dark Knight$158,411,483$158,411,4831
2NMamma Mia!$27,751,240$27,751,2401
43Journey to the Center of the Earth$12,340,435$43,504,7122
51Hellboy II: The Golden Army$10,117,815$56,526,8852
7NSpace Chimps$7,181,374$7,181,3741
96Get Smart$4,125,021$119,608,6955
108Kung Fu Panda$1,860,854$206,616,3817

Box Office Predictions Recap
What else can I say, but "Wow!" I thought I was stretching when I hoped for a Spider-Man 3 topping weekend. I truly thought that it would be a monster open, but come in some $20 million less than I was hoping. As it turns out, I was a lot closer with my hopes than I imagined. It will be interesting to see how high it will fly, I remember a few weeks back, while talking to some friends, I made a prediction of $375 million for the run. It will be interesting to see how its legs stand up. As for the rest of the field, I cannot believe that Hellboy II dropped as much as it did, aside from that, I was pretty close on most placements and gross predictions.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
1The Dark Knight$158,411,483$152 million
22Mamma Mia!$27,751,240$24 million
53Hellboy II: The Golden Army$10,117,815$15 million
34Hancock$14,040,178$13.5 million

Journey to the Center of the Earth

$12,340,435$11 million
66Wall*E$10,070,396$10 million
77Space Chimps$7,181,374$7 million
88Wanted$5,072,805$5.5 million
99Get Smart$4,125,021$3.5 million
1110Meet Dave$1,659,424$2.5 million


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