Weekend Predictions: Dark Knight Set to Dominate Again

There's little doubt that The Dark Knight Rises will repeat as the box office champion this weekend. There are some questions regarding how much it will dominate the box office. Will it continue to match The Dark Knight's pace? Will it show the same legs as The Avengers did earlier this summer? Or will it collapse like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II did? There are also a few, very few, asking questions about The Watch and Step Up Revolution. Both films are opening wide, but neither film looks like it will be able to get anywhere beyond a midlevel hit and they are very unlikely to match last year's two wide releases, Cowboys and Aliens and The Smurfs. Fortunately, The Dark Knight Rises should earn enough to ensure a win in the year-over-year comparison.

The Dark Knight Rises had the best non-3D opening of all time last weekend, but while the previous two installments in Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise had excellent legs, it's unlikely this one will have the same luck. The reviews, while incredible, are below expectations. Additionally, its internal multiplier was much weaker than the previous two films. Its weekday numbers have not shown signs of recovering. I don't think it will plummet as fast as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II did, although it is a remote possibility. A 60% drop-off is not out of the question and that would leave the film with $64 million over the weekend, while $72 million is probably the upper limit. I'm going with a prediction of $67 million, because I think the lower end is slightly more likely than the upper end. This will lift the film's running tally to $290 million, more or less, and put it on pace to reach over $400 million. This is a fantastic result, even with a production budget of $250 million, but it is well below expectations.

The Watch will be a distant second. At the beginning of the month, I was a little more pessimistic about this film's chances than some, and it appears my pessimism will pay off. In fact, I might not have been pessimistic enough. The film's reviews are abysmal and currently sit at just 13% positive. This is among the worst for each of the film's three main actors. (As I mentioned before, this is Richard Ayoade's Hollywood debut, so he doesn't have a track record one can compare to.) Granted, there are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so far, but I have a hard time believing it will suddenly recover at this point. Box office potential has also sunk and the film is just as likely to fail to reach $20 million during its opening than it is to top $30 million. I'm going with $23 million over the weekend and a final tally roughly the same as its production budget ($55 million). Considering some were predicting this would be a $100 million hit, this is a real disappointment.

Step Up Revolution might come in third place with about $15 million, which would make it the worst opening in the franchise. Unfortunately for the film, this is the high end of expectations. Its reviews are 24% positive, which is inline with most of the rest of the franchise; only Step Up 3D was significantly better than that. Look for just over $13 million over the weekend and about $30 million in total. There is some good news for the studio. It likely didn't cost a lot to make, while its international prospects are better. Step Up 3D earned more than $100 million outside of the domestic market.

Ice Age: Continental Drift will cross the $100 million mark tonight, while adding just under $13 million over the weekend. It won't get to $150 million in total, making it by far the weakest in the franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man and Ted should be in a battle for fifth place with both earning between $5 million and $6 million.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-07-26