Even with opening numbers well short of the $207 million opening record ("The Avengers"), "The Dark Knight Rises" still posted nothing short of an enormous first weekend, with a per theater average of more than $36,000 and $160 million in opening revenue. Many of the other major movies currently in theaters struggled to find their audience amidst the "Dark Knight Rises" hype, though the box office as a whole still finished with the second biggest weekend of the year.
Following Friday morning's tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, distributor Warner Brothers was understandably hesitant to post its studio estimates, instead choosing to delay reporting out of respect to the victims. But even being marred by tragic circumstances, "The Dark Knight Rises" still ended up with the third biggest opening of all-time, finishing below only "The Avengers" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2."
One of the biggest indicators of how much of an impact "The Dark Knight Rises" had over the weekend - outside of its own raw data - was the other titles that struggled to find their audiences. "The Amazing Spider-Man" dipped nearly 70% from its second weekend totals and even "Ted" saw a dip of 55% after dominating with adult audiences for the last month.
Anticipating the impact of "The Dark Knight Rises," other studios also stayed away from launching action movies next weekend as well, which should open the door for another enormous weekend for "Rises." After opening $2 million ahead of "The Dark Knight," "The Dark Knight Rises" will likely see a similar level of dominance as its predecessor over the next month or so; "The Dark Knight" would go on to top the box office for four consecutive weekends in 2008, helping it reach $533 million domestically and more than $1 billion worldwide. Look for "The Dark Knight Rises" to post a few more big weekends and to see worldwide revenue once again challenge $1 billion.
While "The Dark Knight Rises" dominated with its intended demographic, R-rated drama "Magic Mike" quietly crossed yet another milestone, pushing past $100 million in domestic revenue in its fourth weekend in theaters. With a production budget of just $7 million, "Magic Mike" is by far the most inexpensive 2012 release to cross the mark, making it director Steven Soderbergh's biggest hit outside of the "Ocean's" trilogy. "Magic Mike" also represents another high point for Channing Tatum, who has graduated from minor roles to becoming a major movie star.
The weekend should also be the last fairly big weekend for "Ted," Seth MacFarlane's R-rated comedy that has turned into somewhat of a phenomenon. Partly thanks to the popularity of MacFarlane's popular TV series "Family Guy," "Ted" is now up to $180 million domestically and more than $200 million around the globe, making it far and away the biggest comedic hit of the year. "Ted" will see some fresh competition this upcoming weekend as "The Watch" opens, but it still should easily finish as the top R-rated release of 2012 when all is said and done.
As mainstream audiences turned to "The Dark Knight Rises," there was even a significant impact on animated release "Ice Age: Continental Drift." Domestic numbers have been so-so for the fourth installment in the popular franchise, leading to an underwhelming 10-day total of $88 million after its second weekend. But even with unimpressive U.S. totals, "Ice Age: Continental Drift" continues to hit big with family audiences overseas, propelling it past $500 million in worldwide revenue already. "Continental Drift" has been so successful overseas that it's already made $300 million more than Pixar's "Brave" despite slow numbers in the U.S. and a shorter stay in theaters.
Next weekend, music drama "Step Up Revolution" is one of the headline releases in a slow weekend followed by "The Watch," an R-rated comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill. The summer blockbuster season will slow considerably now that "The Dark Knight Rises" has launched, though movies like "Total Recall," "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Expendables 2" should still find action audiences over the next month.
Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 7/20/12 - 7/22/12 (In Millions), [RTT Prediction]:
1. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brother): $160.89 [$193]
2. Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox): $20.42 [$26]
3. The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony/Columbia): $10.89 [$17]
4. Ted (Universal): $10.01 [$14]
5. Brave (Disney): $6.02 [$6]
6. Magic Mike (Warner Brothers): $4.29 [$4.8]
7. Savages (Universal): $3.40 [$4.2]
8. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection (Lionsgate): $2.25 [$2.5]
9. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus): $1.83 [$2.1]
10. To Rome with Love (Sony Pictures Classics): $1.42 [N/A]
by RTT Staff Writer
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