By Todd Allen

In another relatively quiet weekend at the Box Office, we find Batman continuing to lord over the competition in a similar fashion to Avengers, we also see a genre film launch and hear a “thud” as it hits a wall, just like Battleship didn’t bouncing off the Avengers.

First, here’s a rundown of the top 10 via Box Office Mojo:

1 The Dark Knight Rises $36,440,000
2 Total Recall (2012) $26,000,000
3 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days $14,700,000
4 Ice Age: Continental Drift $8,400,000
5 The Watch $6,350,000
6 Ted $5,479,000
7 Step Up Revolution $5,300,000
8 The Amazing Spider-Man $4,300,000
9 Brave $2,890,000
10 Magic Mike $1,380,000

There doesn’t seem to be a consensus what the dynamic is between lingering effects of the Colorado shooting, competition with the Olympics for viewers and what seemed to be an utter lack of anticipation for Total Recall’s remake.  This isn’t a huge box office and nothing was particularly hot.  The interesting comparison is Total Recall’s estimated $26M when compared to Battleship’s $25.5M opening weekend when Avengers was ruling the summer roost and sucking the life out of everything in it’s wake.

Possibly this is a perfect storm of bad timing and and tepid reception.  And maybe Avengers and Dark Knight rises are just juggernauts you want to stay well away from.

Dark Knight Rises is sitting on $354.6M domestic and $733M global (as we wait for the next update.)  Our old friend the Avengers, still on 300 screens and estimated at $400K this weekend, is at $616.7M domestic and $1.461B globally (…and it should open in Japan soon).  Dark Knight probably isn’t going to catch Avengers at the box office.  Right now it’s roughly $52M behind Hunger Games for second largest film of the year at the domestic box office.  Figure it should take about 2 weeks to lap Hunger Games.  Spidey is at #4.  Has this been the summer of the geek film?  (And yes, I know that some people want to split off animation as non-geek, but the Disney style has always had its place at comic conventions.)  Here’s the top 10 domestic right now for 2012:

1 Marvel’s The Avengers
2 The Hunger Games
3 The Dark Knight Rises
4 The Amazing Spider-Man
5 Brave
6 Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
7 Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
8 Ted
9 MIB 3
10 Snow White and the Huntsman

4 comic book movies.  3 cartoons. 1 SF/F young adult novel adaption. 1 fairy tale. 1 movie about a talking Teddy Bear.   Yes, I think there will still be movie booths at Comicon next year.

We’ll see if the Bourne film can crack the yearly top 10.

As for the Amazing Spider-Man, he’s still tumbling.  I don’t see it making $300M domestic.  Batman done run Spidey over.  Spidey’s done much better overseas and has a $677.7M global tally.  When you look at the global picture, it’s unlikely money was lost, but Sony and Marvel have to be awfully disappointed in the totals here and are probably hoping for magic when it hits the DVD/Blu-ray market.

Next week sees 3 wide releases: The Bourne Legacy with 3,600+ screens, Will Ferrell’s The Campaign on 3,250 screens (and ready for election run-up) and 2,200 screens for Hope Springs with the unlikely headlining trio of Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell.

The SF/F genre is going to take a little time off before Dredd and Looper hit in the second half of September.  If Avengers and the opening of Dark Knight Rises have taught us anything, it’s that giving Dark Knight Rises a WIDE berth is a smart thing.  As the action/adventure and horror films start to roll out, we’ll see how they fear against Batman.


  1. Possibly this is a perfect storm of bad timing and and tepid reception. And maybe Avengers and Dark Knight rises are just juggernauts you want to stay well away from.


    I don’t know where there is any “perfect storm” here.

    I like the original (sly and truly subversive) 1990 Total Recall quite a lot– and I find the idea of a remake, from the director of Underworld, extremely uninteresting ..and I suspect others feel the same.

  2. I saw Batman Saturday morning at 1:30 AM, as the previous IMAX screenings near Lincoln Center were all sold out. (That’s a huge screen, with one of the largest auditoriums in the city.) The ticket cost $20, and thankfully the late night audience was rather light.

    I might see it again, just to see how everything slotted together.

    The only other picture I’m eager to see is “ParaNorman”, the stop-motion picture from Laika.

    Aren’t summers usually geek-laden? Compare last year’s summer hits to the final list. What can we expect this Fall and Oscar season?

  3. Regarding the box office tally for “The Amazing Spider-Man,” tell me again how an almost $700 million tally for a movie is now considered to be a disappointment?

  4. @Dan — That’s easy. Spider-Man 3 took in $336.5M domestically and $890M worldwide — and that’s at 2007 prices. Amazing Spider-Man cost $230M to film. When you figure the theater’s cut of the box office, Amazing might not break even on it’s domestic box office. It won’t lose money, but everyone was expecting a bigger return.

  5. Regarding the box office tally for “The Amazing Spider-Man,” tell me again how an almost $700 million tally for a movie is now considered to be a disappointment?


    @Steely Dan:

    I suppose the rule of thumb is (still) that a film must gross (something like) 3 times its cost to break even — so if we’re to believe that Sony really poured 200/250 into Spidey production — or 250/300/350(?) into production and marketing .. then, by (what I am under the impression is still) the rule of thumb, 700 million don’t work sooo great.

    Otherwise: I guess all of this would only (really) have meaning when Sony has to go into the bond market?

  6. Maybe battleship and Total Recall flopped because they were terrible movies that the public wasn’t interested in and it didn’t have anything to do with the Avengers or the Dark Knight

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  8. I guess my question is how much money is Columbia Pictures making on this film overall beyond the box office (including DVD/Blu-Ray sales, television sales, digital downloads and rentals), plus all of the merchandising money that they’re getting a cut of?

    On top of that, they have a new (cheaper) director and new (cheaper) actors. The very hefty salaries and likely sizable cuts of the profits that the principals were taking in “Spider-Man 3” making comparisons to this new film a very apples-to-oranges scenario in my opinion.

    Additionally, it’s important to remember that this film went into production solely because Columbia Pictures has to make one of these films every few years (not sure of the exact time period) or the rights to the franchise automatically revert back to Marvel. So I think comparing this film’s financial performance to “Spider-Man 3” is a mistake since it should really be compared to the money that the studio would NOT make on this film and any likely sequels ($0) if they didn’t put this into production when they did. This film specifically was a long-term investment on their part to retain the overall lucrative rights to the franchise for many years to come.

    In the end I still find it very hard to believe that this film will not be very profitable for Columbia and that they will be disappointed in its performance at the end of the day. Compared to how much they would have lost financially if they had lost the film rights to the character, I’m guessing the executives at the studio are very happy with how it’s doing.

  9. I’m guessing the executives at the studio are very happy with how it’s doing.


    @Steely Dan:

    I would agree to agree with you that we can go on until doomsday about all the incredible stuff we all know about these movie budgets / grosses / marketing, and it would still all be a guess.

    The only people who really know what’s going on are in the studios accounting department.

    You can pick up a major papers right now and a writer will refer to the new Spidey as a hit and another will refer to it as a disappointment – because nobody really knows how to crunch these numbers – or if they are even real – and yet everyone seems to feel they have to render a verdict, because inquiring minds just got to know.

    ..If only Americans were as interested in the finances of their pension funds.

  10. I saw Brave and Dark Knight Rises on the same day.
    Brave entertained and inspired me. It was colourful, fun, had wonderful characters, and kept moving along. Fantastic show.

    Dark Knight depressed and bored me.
    Batman, master detective and experienced martial artist chooses to repeatedly battle a big fast fellow, and is baffled as to how to defeat this guy. Hello, I could have suggested a couple of ways. Again, a sad, tired story full of holes and wayy too many subplots and societal references.

    Not a movie I will recommend to anyone, sorry.

  11. “Maybe battleship and Total Recall flopped because they were terrible movies”

    I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone say the Recall reboot is straight up terrible. I’d say it’s struggling at the box office because…

    1. You don’t remake Arnold movies.

    2. You certainly don’t remake Arnold movies unless you’re making some major change to the story. A new version of The Running Man that went back to book might succeed.