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Will 'The Dark Knight Rises' Beat 'The Avengers' This Summer? [Superheroes]


There are four weeks left to the summer season and the big question is: Will The Dark Knight Rises beat The Avengers as the highest grossing movie of the summer?

So far, director Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (2012) has grossed $318,197,764 domestically after two weeks. Director Joss Whedon's Marvel's The Avengers (2012) grossed $616,351,422 after 13 weeks. Can Batman catch up?

The last Batman film The Dark Knight (2008) was an unqualified blockbuster. It grossed $533,345,358 easily beating the other superhero film, Iron Man, at $318,412,101. Will Bruce Wayne beat Tony Stark again?

This summer comic book and superhero movies accounted for one-third of the box office total this summer. The total U.S. summer box office so far stands at $3.3 billion. Of that, $1.5 billion is coming from the comic book movies The Avengers ($616 million), The Dark Knight Rises ($354 million) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($250 million). So, either way this has been a great year for comic book fans. The movie studios have to be paying attention.

Just looking at the numbers and theater count, it doesn't look like The Dark Knight Rises will beat The Avengers in ticket sales.

The Numbers
For the sake of discussion we're going to stick with domestic numbers from Box Office Mojo. It's harder to get numbers for international ticket sales from the site. The Avengers grossed $270,019,373 its first weekend. The Dark Knight Rises took in $225,011,359.

By the second week, The Avengers had a 51% drop to around $132 million taking in a total of $402,021,415. In The Dark Knight Rises second week it's taken in about $93 million which is a 59% drop in ticket sales. The total stands at $318,197,764.

If they keep going at that pace, there's no way Batman 3 will make the same amount by the end of 13 weeks. Interestingly, The Avengers didn't have a total slide down. In it's fifth, tenth and twelfth week it had a boost in ticket sales, so who knows? If Christopher Nolan's film gets a similar boost ticket sales could ratchet up. But there's an advantage that Joss Whedon's film has that the Batman movie does not.

The Number of Theaters
The Avengers opened in 4,349 theaters. The Dark Knight Rises opened in 4,404 theaters. So Batman has more theaters, but you have to factor in that about 70 of those theaters are IMAX showings. That could work in it's favor since IMAX tickets brings in more money, but it's unlikely. Since IMAX theaters are harder to find, it's unlikely to cater to your standard moviegoer.

Time to Reach $350 Million
Marvel's The Avengers took ten days to reach $350 million dollars. The Dark Knight Rises took 17 days. This is three less than the previous Batman film, The Dark Knight which took 14 days and made a total of $351,086,846 by the end of the summer. At this pace, unless there's a massive upsurge, it's unlikely to catch up.

Fandango said advanced ticket sales were outpacing The Avengers. There was huge anticipation for this film. So, why did this happen? What's holding The Dark Knight Rises back from breaking records?

The Colorado Theater Shooting
The biggest reason is the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. People are scared to go to the theaters.

It's not just Christian Bale's movie that's being affected. Hollywood Reporter says ticket sales are down 30 percent from last year because of the shooting. The fact that the specific movie targeted was Batman means people are more freaked out by that film than any other.

The Olympics
The Olympic ratings are huge this year. Lots of people are staying home to watch it. Not as many people are going to the movie theaters.

The closing ceremonies are scheduled for August 12th. It's possible ticket sales could increase after that, but it's hard to imagine it. Of course, it helps when a movie has good buzz. So, how do the audience ratings compare between the DC and Marvel movies?

Audience Ratings
The Dark Knight Rises Rotten Tomato rating is 87% with an audience rating of 92%. Compare that with The Avengers which got a 92% with an audience rating of 96%. The critical reviews of The Avengers was better. Not by a huge margin, but enough that anyone just going by the reviews would probably go with The Avengers. That said, people that have seen it seem to like it more.

Personally, if someone asked me which they should see, I'd have to think. If they were thinkers and fans of the first two I'd say The Dark Knight Rises.  Otherwise I'd tell them The Avengers. Why?

The Dark Knight Rises Is ...Darker
The subject matter and themes of the two films are very different. It's not fair to even compare them. But, for the sake of the discussion, imagine your average movie goer comparing the two plots and deciding which to spend money on.

The Avengers is about a team of superheroes, including The Hulk and Iron Man, fighting aliens. The Dark Knight Rises is about Gotham City being taken over by a terrorist while Batman struggles with inner turmoil. One sounds like a fun popcorn film. The other sounds like a bleak movie experience. For three hours. 

Now, this is not a discussion about hard-core comic book fans. Frankly, I couldn't choose between the two movies. I liked them both and plan to see The Dark Knight Rises again while I only saw The Avengers once.

Your average movie goer drives ticket sales though, and thanks to terrifying news events, Olympic fever and dark themes Batman may not make it as the number one summer movie of the year like it did in 2008.

It makes me sad since I think Nolan's masterpiece deserves to be in the list of the greatest movies of all time along with Citizen Kane.

For the curious, here are the numbers from Box Office Mojo.

Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
DateWeekly Gross%Theaters / ChangeAvg.Gross-to-DateWeek
May 4–10$270,019,373 -4,349-$62,088 $270,019,373 1
May 11–17$132,002,042 -51.10%4,349-$30,352 $402,021,415 2
May 18–24$74,663,373 -43.40%4,249-100$17,572 $476,684,788 3
May 25–31$55,779,192 -25.30%3,918-331$14,237 $532,463,980 4
Jun 1–7$28,586,745 -48.80%3,670-248$7,789 $561,050,725 5
Jun 8–14$16,838,179 -41.10%3,129-541$5,381 $577,888,904 6
Jun 15–21$13,358,877 -20.70%2,582-547$5,174 $591,247,781 7
Jun 22–28$10,835,292 -18.90%2,230-352$4,859 $602,083,073 8
Jun 29–Jul 5$6,876,687 -36.50%1,270-960$5,415 $608,959,760 9
Jul 6–12$3,301,972 -52.00%1,125-145$2,935 $612,261,732 10
Jul 13–19$2,176,282 -34.10%747-378$2,913 $614,438,014 11
Jul 20–26$1,045,837 -51.90%495-252$2,113 $615,483,851 12
Jul 27–Aug 2$867,571 -17.00%373-122$2,326 $616,351,422 13

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
DateWeekly Gross%Theaters / ChangeAvg.Gross-to-DateWeek
Jul 20–26$225,011,359 -4,404-$51,092 $225,011,359 1
Jul 27–Aug 2$93,186,405 -58.60%4,404-$21,159 $318,197,764 2

What do you think? Will The Dark Knight Rises beat The Avengers in ticket sales? How many times have you seen either film and will you be seeing them again?
[Image Source: Screencrush]
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  1. Alex J. CavanaughAugust 6, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    I've been watching the world wide totals, and since Avengers is well over 1.4 billion dollars and still rising, I think it will reign champion.

  2. I doubt Batman will catch The Avengers. For another thing the Avengers movie was in 3D so that gives it a monetary boost, although Batman in IMAX helps offset that a little. Probably by next week Batman will be down to at least #2 on the charts if "The Campaign" or whatever else is coming out has a strong opening of at least $20 million or more. I'll probably do my part and see it again at some point in either fake IMAX or real IMAX (or both). I've seen it twice already while The Avengers I only saw once. So there.

  3. I think the Avengers has wider appeal. But that doesn't mean that the DKR isn't a masterpiece on its own. Twilight will always beat A Game of Thrones, but I prefer one over another.

  4. I was surprised by The Avengers. I knew it would be good because of Whedon, but I did not anticipate that good. And I saw it in the theater three times, something I haven't done since Return of the King. That being said, I knew that Avengers and TDKR would be the kings, nothing else this summer could compare.

    Honestly, I think it's more the overreaction to the Colorado shooting that has hampered TDKR rather than the darker story or even the Olympics. It's a tragedy that is awful and horrible. However, Americans tend to outrageously overreact like wet hens in the face of disaster. I was subjected to mindless Disney-esque babyfood trailers when I saw TDKR. Because yeah, an R-rated trailer with any kind of violence would have had my entire theater erupt in savagery. Then they pulled Gangster Squad until next year. They'll probably even remove a certain controversial scene where they shoot up a theater. Lock down and sanitize the barn after the horses have run away.

  5. I realized that I didn't need Dark Knight Rises to outgross The Avengers. They're movie events of two very different kinds on too many levels. The Avengers hit first and hit hard. Dark Knight Rises needs no excuses to gross less. It is still a huge blockbuster.

  6. Well I have to admit seeing that Gangster Squad trailer less than 24 hours after the shooting was pretty awkward. Not that people in the theater were screaming or running for the exits, but it was just uncomfortable, so I was glad the second time I saw the movie and that was gone.

  7. I was really rooting for TDKR to be crowned box office champion for 2012, but I had my doubts, even before the shooting. It was always going to be hard replicating the success of TDK, which had Heath Ledgers performance as Joker and his death before its release driving ticket sales. The fact that TDKR has grossed more than $350 mil in three weeks is an achievement in its own right.

    All that said, the year is not yet over. I still believe we have a potential Avengers toppler in the place of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey coming out in December.

  8. jeremy [retro-zombie]August 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Marvel's The Avengers... for the win.

  9. I haven't seen either yet, but will when they come out on dvd.

  10. Absolutely not. The Avengers had problems but The DarkKnight Rises has far more. TDKR will not have The Avengers legs because the The Avengers audience was bigger (Iron Man, Hulk, Cap, etc) going into that film.

  11. Good point Reginald. Avengers had a broader fan base since it had several popular heroes and not just one. Subject: [geektwins] Re: Will 'The Dark Knight Rises' Beat 'The Avengers' This Summer? [Superheroes] ~ The Geek Twins


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