Is The Dark Knight Headed for the Box Office Record Books?

The Dark Knight Logo

It isn’t even July 1 yet and all the web can seem to talk about is The Dark Knight. Every day we seem to have another angle, another opinion and another statistic that sets fire to the long-burning coals of fire that is Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins follow-up. Needless to say, I myself am also in full Dark Knight mode, as I am currently packing to head out to L.A. this weekend, where my activities in one way or another will include seeing the film. The excitement, as you can imagine, is almost overwhelming, and I am doing my best to contain myself, so not to be disappointed no matter the quality of the film.

Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark KnightIt appears as though fans around the country are also very excited for The Dark Knight, as online ticket sales are already going through the roof. The folks at sent over word this afternoon that The Dark Knight has sold eight times the amount of tickets online as Spider-Man 3 did at the same point during its sales cycle — 21 days prior to release. And if you remember correctly, Spider-Man 3 opened to $152 million dollars in its opening weekend, the largest opening weekend in history. There have also been reports of midnight shows across the country already being sold-out.

Now, is that to say that The Dark Knight is going to bring in $1.2 billion dollars at the box office on opening weekend, outselling Spider-Man 3 8-to-1? Absolutely not. While that would be fun to report come July 20th, there is just no way that something like that would ever happen. In fact, there is nothing in these statistics that leads me to believe that The Dark Knight will be contending with that $152 million mark on opening weekend — Spider-Man 3 opened on the first weekend of Summer, it was backed by a ridiculous marketing campaign and it was a sequel.

Wait a second… That sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? The Dark Knight is the sequel to a film that took in over $200 million at the box office in 2005. As well, it is supported by one of the most intricate and engaging viral marketing campaigns in the history of film. It is safe to say that awareness of this film, which has already begun to gain support from glowing critical praise, could lead to some larger than expected opening weekend totals. Couple that with the loss of Heath Ledger, a factor that is incredibly sad, but also will have an undeniable impact on the film’s performance. The fact that this was Ledger’s final full performance could very draw moviegoers who would not normally be interested in a Batman movie.

Heath Ledger as The Joker

When you wrap all of this together, the turmoil, the marketing, the critical praise and the foundation of success built by the first film, you have a recipe that could very well lead to a lot of tickets being sold. It leads me to believe that the top box office spot of the year is The Dark Knight’s for the taking, and that big, huge audacious record set by Spider-Man 3 in 2007 might not be out of reach either. There is no denying that The Dark Knight is going to do well — at this point, all that is left is to find out how high is high.

Do you think that The Dark Knight will break box office records?

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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