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Sunday, July 27, 2008

'The Dark Knight' remains unstoppable with record $75.6m sophomore frame, July 25-27, 2008

Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight toppled several more records in its incredible run, posting the biggest second-weekend in box office history with an estimated $75.6 million. In ten days the $185m budgeted superhero sequel has grossed a jaw-dropping $314.2 million, shattering the record for fastest film to $300 million. Despite the entrance of two relatively large newcomers, Will Ferrell's Step Brothers and the sci-fi sequel The X-Files: I Want to Believe, moviegoers couldn't get enough of the Caped Crusader, adding a remarkable $80 million from Monday thru Thursday and falling just 52% from its record destroying opening weekend to $75.6 million. That beats the four-year-old record set by 2004's Shrek 2 which raked in $72.2 million in its second week of release.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight saw its cume hit $314.2 million in just ten days of release, shattering previous record holder Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which took in $258.4 million over its first ten days and needed 16 days to break the $300 million mark.

The Dark Knight has now surpassed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's $313.6 million as the second highest grossing film of 2008, and is just a hair behind Iron Man's $314.9 million for first overall. Those two films required 10 and 13 weeks respectively to reach a total Dark Knight needed just 10 days to reach. Word of mouth appears to be very strong for the Christian Bale starrer, with the 52% dip proving much better than Spider-Man 3's 62% dive after its sophomore frame.

With most of the summer's big releases out of the way (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is pretty much all that's left opening on August 1st), it's now quite conceivable that The Dark Knight could become just the second film in history to reach $500 million domestic (1997's Titanic raked in a colossal $600 million in North America and $1.8 billion worldwide). At its current pace the film should surpass $400 million by next weekend, which would easily shatter the record for fastest film to that mark, set by 2004's Shrek 2 at 43 days.

Internationally, The Dark Knight took in $65.6 million over the weekend, pushing its overseas total to $126.3 million. The U.K. alone raked in $22.3 million over the weekend, with many more markets still on the horizon. The film has now grossed $440.5 million worldwide, and should easily surpass $1 billion globally by the end of its run.

Finishing a distant second with $30 million was Sony's Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly comedy Step Brothers, which averaged a strong $9,696 from 3,094 theaters. Budgeted at $65 million, the film was the fourth biggest opening of Ferrell's career, behind only Talladega Nights with $47m, Blades of Glory with $33m, and Elf with $31.1m.

Despite a critical thrashing, Universal's hit musical Mamma Mia! held well in its sophomore frame, falling just 36% to $17.9 million in third. Starring Meryl Streep, the $52m budgeted adaptation has now grossed $62.7 million in ten days, continuing to perform well with female moviegoers. Look for Mamma Mia! to put up similar numbers to last summer's sleeper hit musical Hairspray, which took in $118.8 million domestic and $200 million worldwide.

Lack of marketing, poor reviews and a huge delay in release dates with its predecessor all doomed Fox's sci-fi thriller The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which debuted with a disappointing $10.2 million in 3,185 theaters for a poor $3,203 average. The opening was just a third of the $30.1 million bow of its predecessor, 1998's The X-Files. Released in the prime of the popular sci-fi tv series, The X-Files went on to gross $83.9 million domestic and $189.1 million worldwide. Budgeted at a modest $30 million, look for The X-Files: I Want to Believe to fall short of break-even domestic.

New Line's surprise 3D hit adventure Journey to the Center of the Earth fell a top ten best 24% to $9.4 million in its third frame, pushing its cume to an impressive $60.2 million. Budgeted at $60 million, look for the film to finish with a profitable $75-80 million domestic.

Despite The Dark Knight's record breaking sophomore frame, the top ten films finished virtually tied with last year's comparable frame, when The Simpsons Movie topped with $74 million. It was up 56% from 2006 when Michael Mann's Miami Vice was tops with $25.7 million.


Anonymous said...

Who knew people loved crappy ass movies, huh?


Xavier said...

Hi Stephen,

I am just wondering, The Dark Knight is currently on its second week showing, as we all knew it broke the record in its debut with $155.3 million. You posted the second week's gross as $75.6 million. Don't these two figures add up to $230.9 million? But the gross thus far is $314 million?

Do you personally think TDK will break Titanic's record as the world's highest grossed film?

Stephen Wong said...

Hey Xavier, the numbers I post are only for the weekend, from Friday-Sunday, what I don't post are the weekday totals, from Monday-Thursday. Those still count towards overall totals, which is why the grosses are much higher than just what you see over the weekend. Last week Dark Knight made $80 million from Monday thru Thursday, which accounts for that discrepancy you are noticing.

As for DK beating Titanic, I can almost guarantee that it won't happen. There were so many factors involved in Titanic being able to break $600 million, and I just don't see how a summer release, even one as big and well-received as DK, could ever replicate it. Titanic came out in late December, the last big movie weekend until around mid-April. That's almost four months of virtually no competition, save for bad films that studios can't release any other time, and dump into January thru March. Titanic also had remarkable holding power, dropping over 20% only twice in its first 20 weeks of release, an absolutely insane statistic. That kind of staying power just doesn't exist for an action/comic book movie, although DK is exhibiting very good staying power for the kind of film it is. In any case, it's going to make Warner Bros. a boat load of money, and could very well become only the second film in history to break $500 million domestic. Hope that helps!