“The Dark Knight Rises,” which drew global attention during its opening weekend due to the tragic mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, is expected to have rung-up another $36.4M this past weekend and has maintained a strong lead among competitors at the box office. However, while TDKR may have the lead among its rivals in theaters, the opening week tragedy may have lured away the necessary audience needed to meet studio box office expectations.
Director Christopher Nolan’s final film in his Batman trilogy reunites him with leading man, Christian Bale, to once again protect Gotham City, this time from the gas-emission powerhouse villain, Bane. The Dark Knight Rises has thus far been a success, raking-in nearly $360M in the U.S. alone, according to the Washington Post. Now, in its third week at the box office, TDKR is predicted to have grossed an additional $36.4M, which is nearly half its Week 2 take of 64.1M, according to Rentrak.
TDKR has dropped 60 percent in box office sales after only its first week in theaters – a greater drop than either of the first two films in Nolan’s series. Although his latest film’s opening weekend numbers may trounce those set by 2005’s Batman Begins by a whopping $112M, TDKR barely managed to surpass Nolan’s first week sales for 2010’s The Dark Knight. The parallels between the last two movies in the series, combined with a greater Week 2 drop for TDKR, spell disaster for box office take expectations of Nolan’s swan song.
As the final chapter in the trilogy, history shows that TDKR should have fared much better than its numbers reflect, and far better than its 2010 predecessor, The Dark Knight. When comparing the meager growth between TDKR and The Dark Knight to the box office growth of George Lucas’ Star Wars epic, Revenge of the Sith, which took in about 25 percent more than the it’s lead-in film, it would be safe to assume that Warner Brothers executives expected the same from TDKR.
While only 8 percent, $2.4M, separates the opening week’s drop in sales between the final two movies of the Dark Knight series, the anticipated Week 3 drop reflects only a 1 percent difference. Because this gap is closing between the films, TDKR is looking as though it may be falling into a more traditional Week 3 slump. The fact that audience are not rebounding likely means that this week’s anticipated drop in ticket sales are easily an anticipated slide that will only continue in the weeks to come and make TDKR a disappointment, but not a disaster.