BOX OFFICE: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Takes All the Money

Out of respect for the horrible tragedy in Aurora, studios agreed not to release numbers at the end of this past weekend, as per usual. Apparently 4:30pm on Monday was a sufficient allotment of time to pay respects, as the weekend’s numbers were announced then to the masses who just could not wait another second to see what kinds of records the final installment in the Dark Knight trilogy would smash. While The Dark Knight Rises didn’t quite break new ground, it was certainly the biggest draw on a weekend that gave some folks qualms about entering a movie theater.

Box Office Actuals

July 20 – 22, 2012

1) The Dark Knight Rises (Opening)

WEEKEND: $160.9 million | TOTAL: $160.9 million
Considering its length and its notable lack of Joker, Chris Nolan has little to be ashamed of. Without the aid of performance enhancers like 3D (though the IMAX surcharge surely helped), the movie managed to stake its claim as the 3rd biggest opening of all time. Still, you can’t help but feel that, in terms of sheer numbers, this trilogy is set to close with either a very soft bang or a really loud whimper. Rises only narrowly out-performed its direct predecessor’s opening weekend by $2.5 million, and it didn’t even come close to beating The Avengers‘ $207 million opening. Still, you can’t underestimate the power of longevity; The highest-grosser of all time, Avatar, ranks at #41 in the list of top opening weekends. Come this time next weekend, we’ll see if this bat has wings.

2) Ice Age: Continental Drift (2nd Weekend)

WEEKEND: $20.4 million | TOTAL: $88.8 million
In direct comparison to its predecessor – 2009’s Dawn of the Dinosaurs – this fourth Ice Age movie grossed much more during its first weekend. The second weekend results is a different story; Dinosaurs saw a paltry 33% dip, in comparison to Drift‘s plummet of 56%. Ice Age is still likely to continue the series’ tradition as a reliable kiddie magnet, but it’s on track to be the franchise’s biggest (relative) under-performer.

3) The Amazing Spider-Man (3rd Weekend)

WEEKEND: $10.9 million | TOTAL: $228.6 million
With a decline in numbers of 68.6%, The Amazing Spider-Man is this week’s biggest loser. Not a surprise, considering the competition from other superheros this week. Marc Webb’s $250 million reboot will earn back its budget in domestic receipts sometime this week, and is likely to snag itself a place among the ten top-grossing superhero movies of all time (though, at #10, it would be a place tenuously held).

4) Ted (4th Weekend)

WEEKEND: $10.0 million | TOTAL: $180.4 million

It seems Seth MacFarlane is no longer merely the king of gross-out TV comedy, as his first foray to the silver screen is likely to remain the year’s biggest R-rated comedy. This is the weekend Ted officially out-grossed last year’s champion, Bridesmaids, and the movie even has a fighting chance of breaking the $200-million barrier before the end of its run.

5) Brave (5th Weekend)

WEEKEND: $6.0 million | TOTAL: $208.8 million

Brave is maintaining its fairly modest and steady depreciation in weekend-to-weekend grosses, boasting 46% decline in its fifth weekend. As the August doldrums hit, it is likely to stay in the top 10 for at least 2 or 3 more weeks.

6) Magic Mike (4th Weekend)

WEEKEND: $4.3 million | TOTAL: $102.0 million

If you bet money months ago that this micro-budgeted, loosely-plotted story about a (male) “stripper with a heart of gold” would go on to make $100 million, this weekend’s news must have been pretty damned satisfying. Likely even more satisfied by these numbers is Mike star Channing Tatum, as this is his third movie of 2012 (out of four) to gross $100 million.

7) Savages (3rd Weekend)

WEEKEND: $3.4 million | TOTAL: $40.1 million

At this point, all Savages can feasibly hope to accomplish is breaking even, and even that might be something of a pipe dream. The $45 million movie might not quite make it out of the red domestically, and foreign box office seems to be doing it no favors (it grossed a dismal $1 million overseas).

8) Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection (4th Weekend)

WEEKEND: $2.3 million | TOTAL: $60.3 million

As far as Madea is concerned, Witness Protection is the franchise’s median grosser, which is more of a good thing than a bad thing. In the context of Tyler Perry’s filmography, the movie just became his third-highest grosser. It probably won’t crawl much higher in the ranks, but Mr. Perry should take comfort knowing his popularity is unlikely to wane anytime soon.

9) Moonrise Kingdom (9th Weekend)

WEEKEND: $1.8 million | TOTAL: $36.1 million

If it holds on for a few more weeks as strongly as it has been, Wes Anderson’s film has a chance of supplanting The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as the year’s best-performing specialty film. This is the second week, however, we have seen the movie’s weekend performance decline – albeit by a slight 15.9% – so I wouldn’t hold my breath quite yet. Still, considering this is the director’s best-received work in a decade, nobody should be complaining about Moonrise‘s success.

10) To Rome With Love (5th Weekend)

WEEKEND: $1.4 million | TOTAL: $11.1 million

I don’t think anybody expected Allen’s flick to do as well as Midnight in Paris. But it is surprising to see it back in the top 10 this week, despite losing roughly a quarter of its theaters and 42% of its audience this weekend. That little phenomenon, however, might have more to do with Batman’s saturation of the wider market than anything else.

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