Weekend #29 of 2012 looks like what last weekend should have been: $272 million for the top 12 films, up 50% from last year’s comparable weekend and up 67% from the four-year average for the weekend.
Opening at 4,404 theaters, The Dark Knight Rises from Warner Brothers should average $43,600 per theater (for a $192 million opening weekend). [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.] The early reviews at RottenTomatoes are currently running at a very good 86% positive. Mitch Salem’s SHOWBUZZDAILY review of The Dark Knight Rises is here, with links to retrospective reviews of all the other films in the Batman series. Dark Knight Rises stands at a preliminary $552 million ShowbuzzDaily domestic estimate. We have the domestic gross for Rises slightly higher than 2008′s Dark Knight, while the opening weekend should be substantially higher, as we expect a very strong front-loading pattern.
The opening weekend record to beat belongs to Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million back in early May). If our forecast is right, Dark Knight Rises will rank second on the all-time opening weekend list, ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million) a year ago.
|NEW FILMS THIS WEEKEND||($ millions)|
|July 20-22, 2012||Critics Positive||Opening Weekend Forecast||Domestic Total Projection|
|The Dark Knight Rises
And the following chart chronicles the two Batman franchise attempts by Warner Brothers. The first started with some promise by Tim Burton (1989-1992) but then turned into a disaster and then catastrophe under Joel Schumacher (1995-1997). The current attempt, of course, under Christopher Nolan has been a remarkable case study in success.
|BATMAN TRACKWarner Brothers||($ millions)|
|Critics Positive||Opening Weekend||Domestic Total||Overseas Total||Worldwide Total|
|The Dark Knight
|Batman and Robin||6.20.1997||13%||42.9||107.3||130.9||238.2|
Note: Although critic reviews are not related to the size of the opening weekend, they are significantly correlated with the size of the declines in the opening weeks of a movie.
* The Domestic Total is a very early ShowBuzzDaily projection of the total North American gross, based on the Weekend Forecasts.
A few other movies will get some business, but the weekend really belong to the Dark Knight.
|RETURNING FILMS||($ millions)|
|July 20-22, 2012||Change vs Last Weekend||Weekend Forecast||Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.|
|Ice Age: Continental Drift||Fox||-47%||24.5||179|
|TP’s Madea’s Witness Protection||LG||-51%||2.8||65|
|Moonrise Kingdom||Foc Uni||-42%||2.6||47|
|Madagascar 3||Par DW||-45%||2.0||217|
Box Office Volume
For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $163 million total, ranking 8th of 52 weeks. Last year (July 22-24) this weekend’s total was $181 million (while July 23-25, 2010 was $155 million). This Friday-Sunday is looking like a stunning $272 million, up 50% from this weekend last year and up 67% from an “average” comparable weekend over the past four years.
This Weekend Last Two Years
Captain America: The First Avenger PAR PG13 Chris Evans Hugo Weaving
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $56 Actual: $65
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $183 Actual: $177
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $192
Friends with Benefits SONY R Justin Timberlake Mila Kunis
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $23 Actual: $19
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $66 Actual: $56
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $94
Salt SONY PG13 Angelina Jolie Liev Schreiber
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $38 Actual: $36
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $122 Actual: $118
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $175
Ramona and Beezus FOX G Joey King Selena Gomez
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $9 Actual: $8
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $29 Actual: $26
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $0
Check back throughout the weekend for box office updates as the actual numbers come in.