Dark Knight Breaks Box Office Records

Biggest opening of all time for Batman

Dark Knight Breaks Box Office Records

by Chris Hewitt |
Published on

We know that this is out of keeping with the tone and spirit of Chris Nolan’s Batman movies, but The Dark Knight KERPOW!-ed all opposition to finish number one at the US box office this weekend.

And when we say, ‘all opposition’, we mean it. For Nolan’s wonderful sequel to Batman Begins grossed a staggering $155,340,000 in just three days to post the biggest opening weekend of all time.

That’s just four million dollars ahead of Spider-Man 3’s $151 million haul from last May, but let’s not forget that The Dark Knight is a longer film.

And the list of achievements for the Caped Crusader’s glorious return don’t stop there. It’s the biggest opening for any Batman film (not adjusted for inflation), and is more than three times the opening of Batman Begins, the movie that revitalised interest in the Bat on the big screen. Its IMAX haul of $6.2 million on 94 screens also blasted Spider-Man 3’s $4.7 million into smithereens. It’s already at 158 on the all-time domestic chart and, if word of mouth is as strong on this thing as we think it will be, then we have a real contender for the highest-grossing film of the summer.

So, why did this happen? Well, buzz has been building on the movie for quite some time – not just the sort of buzz that usually surrounds a blockbuster, but a more substantial feeling that the movie would be something truly special. Then, of course, there was the interest in the performance of the late Heath Ledger. The marketing campaign from Warner Bros. was truly glorious, also, while of course it’s hard to underestimate the appeal of the Batman.

Of course, this record may just be an ephemeral thing, but it’s hard to see any film that might challenge it for a while yet. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen might – might – have a chance. But right now, it seems like a lock for $300 million. Next week’s gross will tell us if it has a shot at anything more.

Opening in second place, with a surprisingly strong $27.6 million, was the musical, Mamma Mia!, which showed that counter-programming is still alive and well. The movie looks likely to (just) beat The Devil Wears Prada as Meryl Streep’s biggest opening (in a movie sold on her name, unlike Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events), which is no mean feat.

The only other new release, Space Chimps, fared pretty badly, pulling in just $7.35 million for a 7th place start. Ouch.

But that was no less painful than the drop suffered by last week’s number one movie, Guillermo del Toro’s superb Hellboy II: The Golden Army. With much of its target audience hoovered up by The Dark Knight, the comic book sequel fell an astonishing 70.9% to gross just over $10 million, giving it $56.4 million after two weeks. If the movie picks up next week, once Dark Knight mania has died down, it might have a shot at $90 million. As it is, though, it might end up with around $75-80 million, a long way from the $100 million that last week’s opening suggested was a possibility. Shame.

Next week, The Dark Knight should still be number one by a country mile, given that it’s up against The X-Files: I Want To Believe and the Adam McKay/Will Ferrell comedy, Step Brothers, neither of which look like they will post enormous opening weekends. Even if The Dark Knight drops by around 60% - which seems to be the norm for movies with enormous openings – it’ll still pull in more than $50 million, which should give it the top spot yet again.

Head toBox Office Mojofor the full top 10.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us