'The Dark Knight Rises' to $170 million opening?

Entertainment research firm Fizziology expects the new flick to earn big.

By Benzinga Jul 19, 2012 3:28PM
By Louis Bedigian, Benzinga Staff Writer

Time Warner's (TWX) "The Dark Knight Rises" is expected to bank hundreds of millions of dollars this weekend, potentially becoming the No. 2 domestic opening of all time.

Disney (DIS) scored the No. 1 spot this summer with "The Avengers," which earned $207 million in its opening. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" -- another Time Warner property -- is currently in second place with $169 million, while the last Batman film, "The Dark Knight," holds steady at No. 3 with $158 million.

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Fizziology, an entertainment research firm that uses Twitter, Facebook (FB) and other forms of social media to predict the success or failure of upcoming films, expects "The Dark Knight Rises" to earn $170 million this weekend. This prediction is based on social media buzz for the film.

Four weeks before the release of "The Avengers," Fizziology said that "The Avengers" had generated almost three times the buzz of "The Dark Knight Rises," along with Sony's (SNE) "The Amazing Spider-Man," at the same point in time. The buzz for "The Amazing Spider-Man" did not change, but as of last week, "The Dark Knight Rises" generated 82% of the social buzz that "The Avengers" had.

According to Fizziology, both films had less than 2% negatives in the social conversation, versus "The Amazing Spider-Man," which was over 6%. "The Dark Knight Rises" earned a 71% positive rating, while "The Avengers" came in at 75%. Fizziology did not say how "The Amazing Spider-Man" compared in this regard.

Economically, "The Avengers" has one advantage over The Dark Knight rises: 3D ticket sales at theaters supporting RealD (RLD) and other forms of three-dimensional display technology. "The Dark Knight Rises" will not be screened in 3D. However, it will be shown in IMAX (IMAX).

IMAX showings are an important factor, as "The Dark Knight Rises" has already broken the marathon sales record at AMC, which sold more than 60,000 advance tickets for the Batman trilogy event. Nearly half of the tickets AMC sold were for the IMAX edition, which cost moviegoers $40. AMC charged $25 to see the three films on a standard screen.

Image: Hollywood (© Comstock/SuperStock)Fizziology provided further insight into IMAX's success, saying that a, "whopping 27% of social media mentions of IMAX also mentioned 'The Dark Knight Rises.'"

"We anticipate the IMAX conversation accelerating this week as people buy advanced sale tickets," Fizziology wrote in an e-mail statement. "And without 3D, the IMAX experience is the only 'premium' viewing available for TDKR."

Fizziology's box office prediction record is fairly impressive. Last year, the researcher predicted that Viacom's (VIA) "Super 8" would bring in $37 million (versus the film's actual opening of $36.5 million). Fizziology expected Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" to earn $95 million -- just a few million higher than the film's $90.15 million opening. Similarly, Fizziology believed that Universal's "Cowboys & Aliens" -- which made $36.4 during its opening weekend -- would make $34 million for the studio's new owner, Comcast (CMCSA).

Comparatively, other analysts think "The Dark Knight Rises" could earn even more this weekend than Fizziology predicted. According to Bloomberg, a senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, Jeff Bock, anticipates an opening haul of $180 million, while Boxoffice.com expects the film to earn $198 million domestically.

Worldwide, the last Batman film, "The Dark Knight," earned $1 billion ($533 domestically). "The Avengers," which is still in theaters, has $1.45 billion worldwide ($614 domestically).

More from Benzinga
Jul 20, 2012 7:20AM
Sounds like a good movie to wait for release on a pay channel.
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