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“The Dark Knight” Opening Weekend: Breaks Midnight Record with $18.5M, Single Day with $67.2M and 3-Day with $158.4M. Also Breaks FRI, SUN and IMAX Records [CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED] July 21, 2008 4:30 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in Movies, News, The Dark Knight.

UPDATED 7/21/2008 AT 4:30PM: Here are the final numbers: FRI – $67.165M, SAT – $47.650M, SUN – $43.596M = $158.411M.  It beat all the records once held by Spider-Man 3, with the exception of the Saturday record, which Spider-Man 3 still holds ($51.337M).

UPDATED 7/21/2008 AT 2:00PM: Warner Bros. has released final numbers for The Dark Knight, and their estimate was lower than the actual number thanks to a bigger than expected Sunday take. The Dark Knight took in a record-breaking $43M.  That pushes the movie safely past Spider-Man 3 for the all time 3-day record with an enormous $158.3M weekend. I’ll make another update once the Friday/Saturday/Sunday breakdowns are released.

Moving to critical praise, The Dark Knight is surprising still in first place at IMBd.com’s Top 250. It has a 9.5 rating with 69,135 votes. It’s still holding firm with a 94% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, increasing its fresh amount (now 195 Fresh), while no additional rotten reviews have been added (still at 12 Rotten).

UPDATED 7/20/2008 AT 11:45PM: DHD is reporting that The Dark Knight is doing better than expected business on Sunday, besting WB’s Sunday estimate. It looks headed for a record-breaking $40M+, with a high-end of perhaps $43M. That means the three-day record is all but guaranteed and it now looks like the Sunday record is going down. The list of records beaten has been updated.

UPDATED 7/20/2008 AT 12:57PM: Warner Bros. is now estimating a record-breaking $155.34M 3-day weekend for The Dark Knight. That figure includes an updated $67.85M Friday (that number just keeps getting larger and larger doesn’t it?), a $48.07M Saturday and a projection for a $39.42M Sunday. That means Spider-Man 3’s current Saturday ($51.34M) and Sunday ($39.94M) records are safe (at least for the time being, we’ll see what the Actuals show on Monday), but the single day, opening day, Friday and 3-day records appear to have been broken (with the Friday number being the safest).

The film also broke the IMAX weekend record (held by Spider-Man 3–$4.7M). It made an impressive $6.21M from 94 IMAX locations for an extraordinary $66,107 PTA (per theater average).

All record stats updated in the article below.

UPDATED 7/20/2008 at 12:28pm: Estimates put Friday’s gross at an even more impressive $66.4M, shattering the single day record once held by Spider-Man 3. Saturday’s gross is estimated at between $47.4M and $48M (short of the record set by Spider-Man 3).

Keep in mind that the $66.4M Friday figure includes all the midnight previews ($18.5M), so Friday’s gross (from 3AM and upward) was about $47.9M without the sneaks.

The movie should add another $38-43M on Sunday (Sunday record is $39.9M) and that should be enough to push the film over the prior 3-day weekend record, with current estimates putting the weekend figure at between $153M and $155.3M. The Dark Knight will also help the box office to its biggest 3-day weekend ever ($253M), well above the 218.4M set on July 7-9, 2006 when Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest opened. Record stats updated below.

And updating the IMBd and Rotten Tomatoes watch, the movie has propelled itself to #1at the IMDb.com Top 250. The movie sits in that spot with a 9.5 rating with 23,611 votes. This is the first time The Godfather has been unsitted in a long, long time. At RT, it’s still sitting at a 94% Fresh Rating (184 Fresh/12 Rotten).

UPDATED 7/19/2008 at 8:35am: DHD is now reporting a $64-65M opening. Impressive. I’ll be out for most of the day, so be sure to check up on two main sites to keep informed: FantasyMoguls.com and DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com.

UPDATED 7/18/2008 at 10:30pm: Steve Mason over at FantasyMoguls.com is reporting via his sources that The Dark Knight has broken the single day/opening day record once held by Spider-Man 3. The movie is expected to gross an enormous $63 million today, moving it past Spider-Man 3 which had a $59.8 million opening day last May. It’s currently projected to reach $153 million for the weekend (which would also beat the record–$151.1M held by Spider-Man 3). Meanwhile, Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that the movie will do slightly less ($60M), yet still enough for the record. I’ve updated the record list below to reflect the performance in terms of the Friday number, but I’m going to hold off on making a statement on the weekend numbers, since we only have one day to work from currently.

On a different note, the movie has made its way to #3 on IMDb.com’s Top 250. It’s currently receiving a 9.1 rating with 7,041 votes. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, it’s holding steady at 94%.


The Dark Knight broke the record for the biggest midnight opening, tallying up a massive $18.5 million in receipts from 3,040 theaters that previewed the movie (it will play in a record 4,366 theaters this weekend). That easily bests the prior record of $16.9 million set in 2005 by Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which was previewed in 2,915 theaters.

What’s even more impressive is that these numbers don’t include the special 3am and 6am screenings of the show that were added. The movie also broke the IMAX record for a midnight opening with $640,000 of the $18.5 million coming from IMAX screenings. With a near sell-through of tickets for the weekend (and still impressive reaction from critics–94% on Rotten Tomatoes), the movie has a very good chance of breaking several more records before the weekend is over with. Here are the key ones that could be broken (updated as records are broken):

  • 3-day opening weekend: Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M).
  • July Opening: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($135.6M)
  • PG-13 Opening: Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M)
  • Opening Day: Spider-Man 3 ($59.8M)
  • Single Day: Spider-Man 3 ($59.8M)
  • Single Day (Friday): Spider-Man 3 ($59.8M)
  • Single Day (Saturday): Spider-Man 3 ($51.3M)
  • Single Day (Sunday): Spider-Man 3 ($39.9M)
  • Conventional/IMAX Midnight Previews ($640,000 for IMAX): Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith ($16.9M)
  • IMAX Midnight Previews: $640,000
  • IMAX 3-Day Opening: Spider-Man 3 ($4.7M)

I saw the movie at one of the 12:01am showings (in a conventional, non-IMAX theater, unfortunately) this morning. Absolutely amazing. Ledger’s performance as the Joker more than lives up to the hype. Eckhart’s portrayal as Harvey Dent/Two Face was also quite strong. I hope his performance doesn’t go unnoticed. The story was amazing, the direction was amazing, the set pieces some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. It was long, but didn’t feel long. It was dark, yet at the same time had some comedy thrown in here and there. I’m not sure if it completely lives up to the hype (which was outrageously high), but it gets pretty damn close. This isn’t just one of the best superhero/comic movies I’ve seen in a long time, this ranks up there as one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

I’ll continue to update this post throughout the weekend as the numbers come in. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the movie in the comments section below.



1. Melanie - July 19, 2008 12:58 am

wow….absolutely wow….My boyfriend is seeing it right now…I’m so jealous….

2. Visna - July 19, 2008 6:36 am

An absolutely fantastic movie. I don’t normally go to see a movie twice in the theatre, but I will for The Dark Knight. Ledger is absolutely incredible, and sent chills down a grown man’s spine. It is far better than any Spidey or Pirates film, and this piece will have the numbers to prove it.

3. Denise - July 20, 2008 9:38 am

Saw this at 10pm last night and it was sold out. They had like 22 showings at the theater we went to and everyone of them were sold out. We even had to stand in line for an hour so we could get 4 seats together. I am a big Spidey fan but this movie is unbelievable.

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