More records for ‘Dark’ dollars

Posted by · 12:10 am · July 24th, 2008

Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight“The Dark Knight” raked in $20 million on Tuesday, breezing past “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest” to claim the record for fastest to $200 million.  By the way, it destroyed the previous number by three days.

Sitting at $203 million at the end of Tuesday, the film also seized the 5-day opening record.  The 6- and 7-day records already fell with that number, while 8, 9 and 10 will assuredly follow.

The fastest to $300 million title will also fall over the weekend, probably on Saturday, and by a margin of nearly half the previous holder.  $400 million (and the record for fastest to that mark) is obviously within grasp by the time the summer rolls to a close, and after that, who knows?  $500 million?  Probably.

And by the end of its run, “The Dark Knight” will likely be the #2 domestic grossing film of all time.

Wow.




→ 16 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

16 responses so far

  • 1 7-24-2008 at 8:37 am

    Zac said...

    If it falls 50% this weekend ($79 million), it’ll claim the second weekend record which is $72 million by Shrek 2.

    By Halloween, the box office record book will be almost completely rewritten by this masterpiece.

  • 2 7-24-2008 at 3:05 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    Well, I went to a matinee of “The Dark Knight” this afternoon, and I am embarrassed to admit that I went in part because of the strong weekday box office numbers. That suggested to me strong word-of-mouth or repeat attendees, which is usually a sign of a wonderful film. But the film was underwhelming. Heath Ledger is terrific in his opening scene, and he’s enjoyable throughout the rest of the film, but the movie itself was very poorly edited, the pacing doesn’t serve the story well (it peaks at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s death; everything afterwards is one long denuement), and the basic plot points are obscured at times. Worst of all, the theme isn’t consistent or even coherent. Early on, we get the impression that violent crime is on the rise in Gotham City, as if this were a 1970s movie or Rudy Giulliani never existed. We’ve seen that before: indeed, superhero comics have often commented on our feelings of impotence in dealing with criminals because of how our liberal democratic principles limit our options. That’s fine, if a bit outdated. But later we get the impression that the filmmakers are actually aiming for some sort of allegory about how liberal democracies react to the threat of Islamic terrorism. That Morgan Freeman objects to the evesdropping technology Bruce Wayne has developed is presumably meant to be a comment on the Bush/Cheney use of wiretaps, but the quasi-prisoners’ dilemma that the two boatloads of people are in at the end doesn’t really resonate because there is no Joker character in real life who has placed civilians and terrorists in these positions–in real life, its the passengers on one of the boats (that is, the terrorists) who place the passengers on the other boat (the civilians) in peril. It is offensive to imply that terrorists and their victims are moral equals, as the film does. And if you are attempting an allegory about the Islamic threat, might you just possibly, maybe, sort of want to have a Muslim character somewhere among the villains? Instead, there’s a Russian and his dogs, the black dude and his men, a Sicilian mobster, a Chinese accountant, and the Joker. Let’s see: who, among the anti-democratic, habitually violent people on the planet today, is missing from that list? I was disappointed with that Nicolle Kidman remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” for the same reason: what a perfect opportunity to comment on the mindless conformism of Islam (one achieves peace through submission). Does no one in Hollywood have any balls?

  • 3 7-24-2008 at 4:32 pm

    John said...

    Now imagine what it would be doing if it was a great movie instead of a good one.

  • 4 7-24-2008 at 6:36 pm

    Fei said...

    Except that your problem, John, is that what you’ve said completely indefensible.

    1) You may think that The Dark Knight is merely a good movie, but the vast majority of critics and audiences believe that it is a great movie. You can’t use your own, subjective opinion as a basis for evaluating how other people regard or react to a movie. It would be like saying, “If Brokeback Mountain were truly a great movie, then it would’ve won Best Picture, instead of Crash.” Since box office numbers are a reflection of how a mass audience receives a movie, then you must use the opinions of that audience as a whole as the point of reference. The Dark Knight is doing at least as well as it should (considering its unprecedented sweep of box office records) for a movie as well-received as it has been.

    2) These days, box office numbers rarely correspond to the audience’s reception of a movie on anything more precise than the broadest of levels. You can find many examples of poorly-received movies doing very good business and very well-received movies doing underwhelming business. On the mega-blockbuster scale, for instance, consider The Phantom Menace and Spider-Man 2 as examples. The Phantom Menace, despite early fan enthusiasm, was almost universally regarded as highly disappointing, and yet it made over $400M (over $500M in today dollars). And just about everybody considered Spider-Man 2 to be much better than Spider-Man, but it grossed considerably less than the original, inflation not included. So what does that mean? Almost nothing. Many factors go into box office performance, and “quality” is a single factor of dubious importance.

    It is the height of narcissism and ignorance to proclaim that your personal opinion of a movie actually explains how it performs at the box office. But, I guess, for all that I know, you might only be a troll.

  • 5 7-24-2008 at 8:13 pm

    Fei said...

    Frank Lee’s “review” of The Dark Knight is a very ignorant critique. Let’s go point by point, shall we?

    > “Well, I went to a matinee of ‘The Dark Knight’ this afternoon, and I am embarrassed to admit that I went in part because of the strong weekday box office numbers. That suggested to me strong word-of-mouth or repeat attendees, which is usually a sign of a wonderful film. But the film was underwhelming.”

    Critics’ reviews and box office numbers in no way ensure how you respond to a movie. At most, they only indicate that a movie is well-liked by the mainstream. Nobody holds opinions that correspond 100% with the mainstream, which means that there will be times in which are you disappointed or pleasantly surprised in response to what you’ve heard about a movie. So there’s no point in complaining about how “misled” you were.

    > “The basic plot points are obscured at times.”

    Although The Dark Knight isn’t plotted perfectly due to a few flaws in individual scenes (such as the incomprehensibly abrupt ending to the fundraiser scene), the failure to catch all of the basic plot points is an indication that you weren’t paying close enough attention, not because of some failings on the part of the filmmakers. On my second viewing, I began to notice just how tightly and carefully plotted everything was. There was zero or very little confusion for me.

    > “Worst of all, the theme isn’t consistent or even coherent. Early on, we get the impression that violent crime is on the rise in Gotham City, as if this were a 1970s movie or Rudy Giulliani never existed. We’ve seen that before: indeed, superhero comics have often commented on our feelings of impotence in dealing with criminals because of how our liberal democratic principles limit our options. That’s fine, if a bit outdated.”

    This is an exceedingly superficial understanding of superhero comics, one that seems entirely premised on the concept of vigilante justice. In other words, one doesn’t even have to have glanced through any actual comics to arrive at that conclusion; one need only take a moment to consider the implications of the veneration of vigilantes.

    Superhero narratives are about superheroes fighting supervillains. When dealing with supervillains, our options aren’t limited by our liberal democratic principles. They are limited by the fact that we don’t have the extraordinary powers or resources to successfully combat such hostile forces. Several of the more high-profile comics, Batman included, touch upon the idea that superheroes and supervillains necessitate each other. The mere existence of a superhero seems to attract, inspire, or create new supervillains, whom a society cannot vanquish without the aid of the superhero. Even The Dark Knight (and, to a lesser extent, Batman Begins) touches upon this idea. This is an idea that has very little to do with “our feelings of impotence in dealing with criminals.”

    > “But later we get the impression that the filmmakers are actually aiming for some sort of allegory about how liberal democracies react to the threat of Islamic terrorism.”

    You got that impression based on the happenstance of the movie’s release date in relation to current or recent events, but honestly, you’re simply reading too much into the story. That’s why you felt underwhelmed by what you thought were the filmmakers’ explorations of what you believed were the movie’s themes. If you look for something that’s not there, then of course you’re going to be confounded and disappointed when you don’t find it. The truth is that the Batman comics have dealt with general themes of terrorism for decades. The movie is an exploration of the themes from the comics, not from our contemporary sociopolitical situation. If you want a clear allegory for how America deals with the threat of Islamic terrorism, look no further than Spielberg’s rendition of War of the Worlds.

    > “That Morgan Freeman objects to the evesdropping technology Bruce Wayne has developed is presumably meant to be a comment on the Bush/Cheney use of wiretaps.”

    Jonathan Nolan wrote that part into the script back in 2005, before the wiretapping scandal came to light. In an interview with Creative Screenwriting Magazine, he even says that he took the idea from what the comics were already doing 30 years ago. Even he noted how coincidental the timing was.

    > “But the quasi-prisoners’ dilemma that the two boatloads of people are in at the end doesn’t really resonate because there is no Joker character in real life who has placed civilians and terrorists in these positions–in real life, its the passengers on one of the boats (that is, the terrorists) who place the passengers on the other boat (the civilians) in peril.”

    The dilemma is fascinating precisely because it has no analogue in real life. In fact, it does not even have an analogue in game theory. (It’s more like a combination of the Prisoner’s Dilemma and Chicken.) Thus, the outcome of the dilemma is rendered rather unpredictable, which builds suspense. So here the movie attempts to make a fairly original point about human nature, and yet you castigate it for not regurgitating some real life dilemma? This assertion makes me doubt your credibility in discussing anything of a fictional nature.

    Furthermore, the Joker is a supervillain (though grounded in Nolan’s “realistic” world), and this story is an adaptation of a comic book narrative. This is exactly the kind of thing that happens in comic books. The Joker is not meant to represent a contemporary Islamic terrorist. He is an agent of chaos, trying to undermine the values of orderly, civilized society. The movie’s exploration of terrorism is about terrorism in a broad sense, not specifically the terrorist threat that we face today.

    > “It is offensive to imply that terrorists and their victims are moral equals, as the film does.”

    The movie does not do that. The only character in the movie described as a terrorist (besides perhaps Batman himself) is the Joker. The ferries contain innocent civilians and the members of organized crime put into prison by the efforts of Dent, Gordon, and Batman. The criminals are not presented as terrorists. Batman condemns the Joker’s unfettered cynicism and utter disregard for human life. So the movie hardly suggests that the terrorist is morally equivalent to anybody else. If anything, it suggests that a terrorist is lower than the average criminal.

    What happens on the ferries is supposed to make a positive statement about human nature—that we, the sane ones, care enough about others that we would not resort to mass murder in exchange for our own lives. Even most criminals don’t believe in killing; only sociopaths are that callous. It’s a thing called basic human decency, which you apparently fail to comprehend.

    > “And if you are attempting an allegory about the Islamic threat, might you just possibly, maybe, sort of want to have a Muslim character somewhere among the villains? Instead, there’s a Russian and his dogs, the black dude and his men, a Sicilian mobster, a Chinese accountant, and the Joker.”

    The Dark Knight is not about the Islamic terrorist threat, and there is no reason to stick an Islamic terrorist in Gotham (not a character found in the comics), unless the point is to make a statement about the contemporary sociopolitical situation, which I have shown that the movie is not trying to do. Besides, there was already an Arabic terrorist character in Nolan’s vision of Batman. His name was Ra’s al Ghul, and he was in the last movie.

    > “Let’s see: who, among the anti-democratic, habitually violent people on the planet today, is missing from that list?”

    The villains in The Dark Knight, apart from the Joker, are all depictions of traditional organized crime syndicates. Hence, you have Italian mafia, Russian mafia, Chinese mafia, and black gangs. Notice that Islamic terrorists are not members of traditional organized crime syndicates, and therefore they have no place in the movie. Interestingly enough, if you knew anything about organized crime, you’d understand that it’s not exactly an enemy of democracy, at least not in the same way as anarchists and terrorists are. In Batman’s world, he’s trying to fight a criminal element that’s trying to take over legitimate institutions. He’s NOT TRYING TO FIGHT TERRORISM, outside of particular terrorists such as the Joker and Ra’s al Ghul. In fact, Batman himself employs a kind of terrorism in order to undermine the criminal underworld of Gotham.

    > “I was disappointed with that Nicolle Kidman remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” for the same reason: what a perfect opportunity to comment on the mindless conformism of Islam (one achieves peace through submission). Does no one in Hollywood have any balls?”

    The Dark Knight is about Islamic terrorism to about the same extent that David Fincher’s Zodiac was about Islamic terrorism. And here’s a better question: Does nobody in Hollywood have the guts to make a movie that comments on the mindless conformism of Christianity (one achieves peace through submission) Your regurgitation of a superficial and misguided common critique of Islam reveals your shallow, bigoted understanding of the religion, which is the most offensive thing of all.

    Furthermore, your discussion of terrorism in your “review” actually reveals that you have little understanding how what the point of terrorism is and how it works. Regardless of what actually motivates them, terrorists aim to intimidate a society into undermining its own values. Note how Islamic terrorism from the past decade has caused America to take liberties with its own deeply held civil liberties. So why should we care about what Islam may or may not do to create terrorists more than what terrorism has actually done to us?

    What about the reality that our government’s anti-Islamic actions have actually inspired countless Muslims to become terrorists, more than their religion itself serving as the inspiration?

  • 6 7-24-2008 at 8:15 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    Wow, guys. It’s okay if some people don’t think this is the Messiah.

    I can’t see it hitting $500m, I must admit.

  • 7 7-24-2008 at 8:30 pm

    Fei said...

    Brian, I agree that people are entitled to their opinions. I’m not a fanboy who’s going to jump all over someone for simply disagreeing. But obviously, you didn’t read what I wrote. I am against anti-intellectualism. Would you say that I’m wrong to quibble with someone who says, “The Dark Knight sucks because Tim Burton didn’t direct it”? The point of contention is not the opinion itself but the reasonableness of the opinion. That is foundation of debate.

    About the box office: Remember how some of us here said that it won’t make more than $300M? It won’t open at much more over $100M? The box office performance so far has shown that almost anything is possible. Here’s my math:
    222 current total
    16 Thursday
    80 weekend
    11 weekdays x4
    45 weekend
    7 weekdays x4
    25 weekend
    5 weekdays x4
    15 weekend
    3 weekdays x4
    9 weekend
    2 weekdays x4
    5 weekend
    1 weekdays x4
    3 weekend
    0.5 weekdays x4
    2 weekend
    0.25 weekdays x4
    1 weekend
    —————————
    $540M total

  • 8 7-24-2008 at 8:46 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Any reason, Brian?

  • 9 7-24-2008 at 11:11 pm

    Chad said...

    I think Shrek 2’s record is safe and people should be prepared for a 60% drop second weekend. Even if word of mouth is stellar, when dealing with numbers this large there’s just a different barometer for success and anything less than 55% would be phenomenal, not just good. The average dip for live action films opening on over 4,000 screens is 54.1%. The average drop for live action films opening with over $100 mil is also 54.1%. Most of those films did not receive the word of mouth that The Dark Knight has so let’s give it a bit better and go with 50%. But we also have to remember the round the clock screenings from last Friday beginning at midnight will not be duplicated and should be removed from the equation. We know that was $18.4 mil so we’ll take our 50% drop from the remaining $140.0 mil from opening weekend. That gives us $70 mil. Anything larger than that will simply be jaw-dropping. Certainly possible given the way it’s been dropping jaws so far.

  • 10 7-24-2008 at 11:34 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    TDK isn’t a very family-friendly movie, and I admit, I expect The X-Files to dwindle some of it’s audience – I was certainly wrong about that.

    I guess I’m mainly just basing it on there being such a gap between Titanic and whatever is number 2 currently. I think TDK will wind up at 2 or 3, don’t get me wrong, but $500m still seems big to me. I could see TDK hitting around $60 or less this weekend. Or it could get closer to $80 with all these bad X-Files reviews. I think the X-Files bombing is one of the best things to happen to TDK’s money making prospects. Give the geek-community another reason to go back and see it a fifth time.

  • 11 7-24-2008 at 11:35 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    And Fel, there HAS to be some weeks where TDK loses 50%+ per weekend. Or maybe not, I’ve been surprised by a lot so far…

  • 12 7-24-2008 at 11:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    #2 currently is Star Wars, which got the boost due to the re-release. Otherwise, it’d be Shrek 2 at $440 million.

    I expect it to settle in between $475 and $5oo million, if not pushing past the latter mark. I think there will be significant repeat viewers. But I could be proven totally wrong if there’s a significant drop this weekend.

    We’ll see how it goes.

  • 13 7-25-2008 at 12:12 am

    Brian Kinsley said...

    I feel like a lot of people that loved it have already seen it twice, too.

  • 14 7-25-2008 at 12:56 am

    John said...

    Fei,

    Nope. Not a troll. Just offering a not-to-be-taken-that-seriously 18-word opinion, which you responded to with 315 words. Hmm, narcissism?