Going into last week, I had a very strategic, three-touch plan to seeing The Dark Knight. I would see it opening night, at midnight, with all the freaks and geeks. I would then see it a few days later with my parents. I would then see it a third time on IMAX, as I’ve never seen a “real” movie on IMAX before.
I did see The Dark Knight on Thursday as planned, and it was glorious. While I did discover that showing up two hours early was not nearly enough time to go hang out at a bar with friends, eat some cheap happy hour food (mmm, waffle fries!) and throw back a couple of Mac and Jacks (that’s beer for you non-Northwesterners), but that there were enough people wanting to see the movie that I had to wait in line for an hour and a half. They point out that the $25 million the Batman movie made on Monday was the best non-holiday Monday earnings ever.
For a movie like this, one would expect the film to be rather front-loaded, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case here. Sure, it’s going to plunge next weekend in terms of percentages, but there are plenty of people who purposely avoided opening weekend because they knew it was going to be a frenzy. Furthermore, you have the fans who will go back and see it again. The fact that it’s dark may deter people, but the fact that it’s getting some of the best reviews of the year seem to be counteracting that.
I’m heading down to the theater in 30 minutes again, this time with tickets already purchased. I can’t wait.
The movie went on to make $158 million over the weekend, making it the biggest box office opening ever. I was a little surprised. I knew the hype was amazing, and that it was going to make a ton of money, but to beat out Spider-Man 3, a much more family-friendly film with more mainstream appeal? It also had a two-and-a-half hour running time, meaning less theaters. I didn’t think it was possible.
So, on Monday, I traveled down to the best theater in Bellevue to catch an 8:30pm showing with my roommate and parents. I had this nagging feeling that I should have bought tickets ahead of time, but it was a Monday night. Even the biggest, most popular movies don’t sell out on a Monday night. Even in the summer. Right? Wrong! As I come up the stairs – the same horrid stairs that I spent over an hour on a few days before – I, with dreaded eyes, see the evil pieces of paper plastered over the box office window. 7:15 showing sold out. 7:45 showing sold out. And yes, 8:30 showing sold out. Damn!
The 9:15 was still open, but my dad needs his beauty sleep and, frankly, so do I. So much to the disappointment of my roommate – who can’t go tonight (Tuesday) – we returned home. The Dark Knight, I expect, will continue to sell out many of its showings through next weekend, and should be nearing $300 million by end of Sunday. I’m no box office expert, but read the box office analysis over at Box Office Prophets.