This weekend kicks off the last potential record-breaker of the summer as Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” comes into the cinemas across the globe. This is four years after the success of 2008’s “The Dark Knight” which set a new opening weekend record with $158.4 million. It is since slipped down to fourth thanks to James Cameron’s “Avatar” and this summer’s record-breaker “The Avengers”.
Could “The Dark Knight Rises” sell more tickets on its opening weekend than “The Avengers”?
Director Christopher Nolan has been among the loudest critics of Hollywood’s rush to 3D, claiming it degrades the creative and viewing experience. “It’s all about the money,” he told the PGA’s Produced By conference in May.
The latest of three blockbuster Batman movies Nolan has made for Warner Bros., “Dark Knight Rises” is expected by industry analysts to open somewhere between $170 million and $195 million. That would make it the best U.S. opening ever– for a non-3D movie.
If so, that “best debut ever” honor would still belong to Disney and Marvel’s “The Avengers,” which bowed to $207 million in the first week in May. “The Avengers” bowed on 4,349 screens in all, 3,364 of which were 3D, along with 275 Imax. “The Dark Knight Rises” will be in 4,404 theaters and 3,700 will offer midnight Thursday screenings.
“Dark Knight Rises” has certainly built anticipation, evidenced by its huge presales. And the buzz surrounding Nolan’s final entry in his Batman trilogy — “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” were the first two — has been near fever-pitch for weeks. But the relentlessly dark and gritty tone of the film, which is at the core of its appeal to many adults, might cut both ways at the box office.
The last Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” was a huge financial success. With a production budget of around $185 million, it opened to $158 million in July, 2008 and went on to make $533 million domestically and more than $1 billion worldwide. That was a huge jump from the Nolan’s first Batman film, “Batman Begins,” which made $205 million after opening to $48 million.
Another hurdle facing “The Dark Knight” in its pursuit of “The Avengers” is its running time of 2 hours, 45 minutes, as compared to 2 hours, 22 minutes for the Marvel film. That will cut into the number of times the film can be shown in a theater.
“The Dark Knight Rises” is expected to be among, if not the, most lucrative entry in the eight-film franchise, which has brought in more than $2.6 billion since it began with “Batman” in 1989.