Box Office Results for July 20, 2012

This weekend, the long-awaited super hero sequel The Dark Knight Rises claimed the worldwide box office crown under a dark cloud caused by a mass murderer’s attack on one of the film’s Thursday night midnight showings in Aurora, Colorado.  WARNER BROS., which did not report the box office estimates over the weekend in light of the tragedy, announced on Monday that the final film in Christopher Nolan’s wildly popular Batman trilogy from DC grossed $160.9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period, making it the third largest opened weekend of all-time and the best ever for a 2D pic.  Only The Avengers and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 debuted better with $207.4M and 169.2M, respectively.  Both were offered in 3D with grosses including the extra 3D surcharges.  All three films opened in IMAX locations.  The previous 2D record was held by The Dark Knight, which launched with $158.4M in July 2008.

Though it is almost impossible to measure for sure, it did seem that the tragedy had a negative impact on ticket sales for The Dark Knight Rises over the weekend.  Understandably, some potential moviegoers may not have been in the mood to go out and see the new Batman film, or any movie for that matter.  While the curiosity over Heath Ledger’s performance was no longer a factor this time, The Dark Knight Rises still should have benefited from the massive good will that its predecessor created.  When a franchise film is so well-liked, its follow-up usually opens bigger – especially if the release pattern is the same.  Iron Man, which like the same summer’s The Dark Knight, had great legs with 70% of the final gross coming after the first weekend, saw its sequel open on the very same frame two years later with a 30% higher gross.  Plus Nolan brought more starpower into the weekend this time than he did in 2008 with fans of both The Dark Knight and 2010’s Inception.  Also, the buzz surrounding The Dark Knight Rises being the final Batman film film the Nolan-Bale camp also added to the excitement.

However, signs indicate that The Dark Knight Rises could eventually pick up much of the lost business in the long term.  While reviews were not as glowing as they were for The Dark Knight, audiences that came out did approve giving The Dark Knight Rises a solid A grade from CinemaScore.  And threequels usually burn through their audience faster but the Saturday-to-Sunday decline was almost as powerful as that of the 2008 installment, which could be due to some fans shifting from the beginning of the weekend to the end as more time passed since the terrorist attack occurred.  Overall, roughly 18 million people across North America went out and saw The Dark Knight Rises in theaters over the weekend.

Both The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight had similar release patterns.  Both bowed on Fridays in mid-July, had no 3D surcharges, and had IMAX runs.  The new film opened to $75.8M on Friday including $30.6M in Thursday night post-midnight shows.  That resulted in the second best midnight launch after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’s $43.5M and the third biggest opening day ever trailing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1M) and The Avengers ($80.8M).  The first-day result was 13% better than the $67.2M of The Dark Knight.  At the time, the second chapter broke the all-time records for midnights, opening day, and opening weekend.

Saturday sales for The Dark Knight Rises fell 41% to $44.9M.  That was a bigger fall than the 29% than the last chapter suffered.  Given the bigger midnight gross component in Friday’s take and the fact that it was a threequel with more upfront demand, the larger Saturday drop was expected.  But Sunday for The Dark Knight Rises dipped only 11% to $40.2M.  The 2008 pic eased just 9% that day so for the follow-up to be so close is a positive sign for the longevity of The Dark Knight Rises.

For the whole weekend, The Dark Knight Rises played in 4,404 theaters making it the second widest opening ever behind just the 4,468 of 2010’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.  The weekend average was a sensational $36,532.  332 locations featured IMAX screens and those venues contributed a whopping $19M this weekend, or 12% of the weekend gross, for a scorching $57,263 average.  An hour of the film featured footage shot with IMAX cameras – double that of The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight Rises is getting a slower roll-out overseas than its super hero counterparts The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, which both launched in much of the world a week ahead of North America.  The Batman pic debuted in 17 markets and grossed a spectacular $88M this weekend (including $4.8M from IMAX screens) making for a huge $248.9M global bow.  Leading territories were the United Kingdom with $22.5M, Korea with $15.7M, and Australia with $15.5M.  40 more countries debut this coming weekend simultaneously with the kick-off of the London Olympics.

Falling a sharp 56% in its second weekend was the animated fourquel Ice Age: Continental Drift with $20.4M.  Blue Sky has banked $88.8M in the first ten days, which just about matched the $87.3M that the first film in the franchise grossed at this point in its run ten years ago when ticket prices were much lower and no 3D boost was there.  The last installment, 2009’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, stood at $100.6M after ten days in July of that year on its way to $196.6M.  But this series has flourished overseas and Ice Age: Continental Drift has been no exception boosting its international sum to a fantastic $442.7M for a worldwide haul so far of $531.5M on its way to $750M or more depending on how it holds up against the Olympics.

With Batman swinging into theaters, The Amazing Spider-Man took an amazing tumble.  The big-budget Columbia and Marvel reboot collapsed by 69% in its third weekend taking in $10.9M giving the 3D actioner $228.6M after 20 days of release.  Overseas business rose to $386M for a global gross of $614.6M to date.  $750M is possible on this 3D title too.  Falling 55% in its fourth round was the comedy sensation Ted, which collected another $10M lifting the cume to an astounding $180.4M.  Universal and Media Rights Capital should find their way past the $200M mark with this Mark Wahlberg starrer.

Pixar’s Brave surpassed Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted this weekend to become the summer’s top toon.  The DISNEY release grossed $6M, off 46%, bumping the cume to $208.8M.  Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s circus sequel has banked $207.6M domestically so far.  Dropping 56% to sixth place with $4.3M was the Channing Tatum hit Magic Mike, which joined the century club with $102M taken to date for Warner Bros. and Nick Wechsler.

Oliver Stone’s violent crime drama Savages plunged 64% to 3.4M for $40.1M so far for Universal and RelativityLionsgate and TPS followed with its comedy Madea’s Witness Protction, which grossed $2.3M, down 60%, putting the pic at $60.3M.

Wes Anderson collected $1.8M for his hit Moonrise Kingdom, off 51%, bringing the total to $36.1M after its ninth weekend for Focus and Indian Paintbrush.  Fellow American auteur Woody Allen saw his comedy To Rome With Love drop 43% to $1.4M in its fifth frame boosting the cume for the Sony Classics title to $11.1M.

Among new platform releases, Magnolia and Evergreen’s The Queen of Versailles bowed to an estimated $54,000 from just three locations for a solid 18,000 average.  The well-reviewed 3D pic Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai debuted to an estimated $12,275 from solo playdates in New York and Los Angeles, averaging $6,138 for Tribeca.  Internationally, Paramount’s The Dictator joined the century club with an overseas total to date of $101.8M.

The Top ten grossed an average $221.4M; which was up 24% from last year when Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger opened at number one with $65.1M; and up 47% from 2010 when Warner Bros. Pictures’ Inception remained to top with $42.7M.

July 20, 2012 to July 22, 2012 Top Ten



1.   The Dark Knight Rises

  • $160,887,000
  • DC Entertainment (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

2.   Ice Age: Continental Drift

3.   The Amazing Spider-Man

4.   Ted

  • $10,110,000
  • a Universal release (NBCUniversal)
  • Media Rights Capital

5.   Brave

  • $6,025,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

6.   Magic Mike

  • $4,291,000
  • a Warner Bros. release (Warner Bros. Entertainment)
  • Nick Wechsler Productions

7.   Savages

  • $3,400,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBCUniversal) and Relativity Media

8.   Madea’s Witness Protection

9.   Moonrise Kingdom

  • $1,831,000
  • a Focus release (NBCUniversal)
  • Indian Paintbrush

10. To Rome With Love

  • $1,421,000
  • Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)


July 22, 2011 to July 24, 2011 Top Ten



1.   Captain America: The First Avenger

  • $65,827,000
  • a Paramount release (Paramount Motion Pictures Group)
  • Marvel Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

2.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

  • $48,065,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

3.   Friends With Benefits

4.   Transformers: Dark of the Moon

5.   Horrible Bosses

6.   Zookeeper

7.   Cars 2

  • $5,726,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

8.   Winnie the Pooh

9.   Bad Teacher

  • $2,600,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

10. Midnight in Paris

  • $1,899,000
  • Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)


July 23, 2010 to July 25, 2010 Top Ten



1.   Inception

  • $42,725,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

2.   Salt

  • $36,011,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and Relativity Media

3.   Despicable Me

4.   The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

5.   Toy Story 3

  • $8,918,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

6.   Ramona and Beezus

7.   Grown Ups

  • $7,429,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Relativity Media, and Happy Madison Productions

8.   The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

9.   The Last Airbender

10. Predators

~ by Matt Whitfield on July 26, 2012.

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