Just how big will The Dark Knight’s opening weekend box office be?
At this point, it’s almost a given “The Dark Knight” will join the $100 Million opening weekend club, which currently only has 10 members. I mean, Just two movies in the history of cinema (“Star Wars Episode III” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) recorded more advanced ticket sales than Christopher Nolan’s tour de force, and both of those flicks tipped the nine-figure scales.
Apparently, the fine folks at Warner Brothers aren’t trying to get their hopes up amidst the feverish levels of excitement surrounding the movie’s release. They’re only projecting slightly more than $100,000,000, which is an incredible amount of money in just three days of release, but for a movie that’s booking shows at 6 a.m. and pretty much every other time slot available, I think we can call WB’s guesstimate a “safe bet.”
Other box office gurus are projecting more realistic numbers, guessing that “The Dark Knight” will pull in about $135 Million but it behind just two movies, “Spider-Man 3” ($151,116,516) and “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” ($135,634,554), on the list of all-time opening weekends. Both of those flicks had similarly insane amounts of hype surrounding them in the several weeks before they were finally release, but I would have to say the “The Dark Knight,” given the quality of the first film and the general public’s interest in the late Heath Ledger’s performance, has even more excitement surrounding it that the other two. Because of that, it’s entirely possible that the flick makes a serious push at the record for best opening weekend ever, especially considering the midnight and extra-booked showings that will be playing all across the country.
I’m not the only one that thinks it can top $151 Million, but some internet wizards are much more outgoing than that — case and point, Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend:
Assume each screen has 8 showings a day (which is about the most they could possibly fit in, showing 24 hours a day), and it’s opening in 4300 theaters. That’s 34,400 TDK showings just in the first 24 hours. Figure an average of 200 seats per theater, $10 per ticket, and that’s a possible $68.8 million earned in just the first 24 hours and a possible $204 million in 3 days. Could every single showing in the country sell out? Probably not, but if any movie is ever going to come close to doing it, then this little movie’s got the juice.
UhhhWhaaaa? A $200 Million weekend? It seems utterly impossible, but like he said, if any movie can do it, we’re staring down the inevitable history maker.
But there are more pressing issues than the technicalities of pondering exactly what the hopefully record-setting amount “The Dark Knight” earns will be. What I want to know is, do the eventual mega-huge numbers put up by “The Dark Knight” shut the door on any doubt about whether or not Movies are the dominant media entertainment platform in America.
Earlier this summer, Grand Theft Auto IV seemingly set the bar for all crazy opening sales records, pulling in $500 Million in the first week. That’s right — half a billion dollars were made by the dudes at Rockstar in just seven days. The totals had people up in arms all around the interwebs, saying this was the most impressive feat in media sales history.
Well, I beg to differ, especially if “The Dark Knight” pushes $200 Million.
I’ll tell you this much — $200,000,000, or even $160 million, in three days of box office is so, so much more impressive than $500 Million in seven days of video game sales. Let’s break it down by the numbers:
- There are 300,000,000-plus people in the United States.
- If, at $10 a ticket, “The Dark Knight” reaches $200 Million, that means at least 20 Million Americans poured into MoviePlexes around the country — 20 Million people in three days.
- For those of you keeping track at home, that equates to six percent of the entire U.S. population that will spend two and a half hours watching “The Dark Knight” this weekend. That is just an insane number.
- In comparison, just two percent of the population bought Grand Theft Auto IV in its first seven days on the market.
I’m not trying to diminish what GTA IV has done for the video game business. It’s a great game, and the records it set will most likely never be broken (well, until GTA V), but movies will never be trumped. They’re the ultimate platform for entertainment media, and even with streaming online websites and illegal downloads, there’s seems to be no sign of hugely hyped movies such as “The Dark Knight” suffering diminished numbers at the box office.