As the pre-box office buzz for The Dark Knight Rises kicks into high gear, many are wondering whether the sequel will not only beat The Dark Knight but also surpass The Avengers, which broke the record for the most lucrative box office opening in history.
Interestingly, The Dark Knight Rises has two road-posts to pass on the way to the top of the box office, surpassing the financial numbers of The Dark Knight and possibly beating The Avengers.
The Avengers took in a total of $207,438,708 (totals according to Box Office Mojo) during its opening weekend before going on to make over $600 million domestically and nearly $1.5 billion worldwide.
How does that stack up to The Dark Knight box office in 2008?
The Dark Knight had an opening weekend total of $158,411,483 before making over $533 million in domestic sales and eventually just slightly over $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
So, just looking at the numbers, what does that say about The Dark Knight Rises as compared to The Avengers?
Well, on paper it looks as though The Dark Knight Rises has an uphill battle to beat The Avengers. In reality, that’s exactly the issue. The bar is extremely high. Given the early summer success of The Avengers, the onus is now on The Dark Knight Rises to perform.
And The Dark Knight Rises needs to do $208 million in its opening weekend to have a shot at beating The Avengers. Whether the sequel can pull in those early numbers is the billion dollar question on the minds of many. And to top The Avengers overall at the domestic U.S. box office, The Dark Knight Rises will need to put up numbers closer to Titanic, a feat The Dark Knight couldn’t accomplish when it was all said and done.
Although it’s easy to pit The Dark Knight sequel against The Avengers, that battle may not be the best marker for true success of the film.
Perhaps the more significant (and fair) question beyond The Avengers is this:
Can The Dark Knight Rises top The Dark Knight?
There’s no denying that the sequel will be a huge financial success. Even with a budget reportedly of $250 million, turning a profit won’t be a problem.
But to the outside world, the fans and critics, how will that success be defined? Will The Dark Knight Rises be deemed more of a failure if it doesn’t live up to the box office numbers of its predecessor?
From one vantage point, it’s completely within the realm of possibility for The Dark Knight Rises to equal the box office numbers of The Dark Knight. After all, if The Avengers can make $600 million, it’s possible for The Dark Knight Rises to make $533 million. One thing is clear, fans are willing to spend money on superheroes.
Although that may be a tall order since The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t have an added financial benefit of 3D ticket prices, demand, curiosity, popularity and repeat viewing could balance the scales.
If you consider an ideal world scenario that nearly everyone who saw the The Dark Knight will see the sequel along with new viewers who were too young four years ago, The Dark Knight Rises has a good shot at keeping pace with its predecessor. Just from a very general (best case) formula, that’s an equal number plus more. However, best case scenarios are often nothing more than wishful thinking.
But despite how well The Avengers did at the box office, The Dark Knight Rises is THE superhero film that everyone’s been waiting see this summer. To say that the sequel won’t equal the box office totals of The Dark Knight would be underestimating the power of not only harcore fans of the Batman franchise but also the real potential within the comic book fan-base as a whole.
The interesting thing about the The Dark Knight is that everyone knew it would be a massive hit, but no one knew it would break the billion dollar mark. When it did,superhero movies went to a new level of legitimacy.
Will The Dark Knight Rises be able to beat The Dark Knight? What do you guys think?