It's opening night for Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," and Deadline estimates the final film in the director's trilogy has already banked $25 million in advance ticket sales. It's also nabbed 80% of all online ticket sales for Tuesday and scalpers are already selling midnight IMAX tickets for $65 to $100 apiece on Craigslist and StubHub.
Bloomberg estimates the film may grab a box office gross of $198 million during its opening weekend, and even more conservative estimates of $170 million would see "The Dark Knight Rises" shattering the $158.4 million opening weekend box office gross of "The Dark Knight" in 2008. However, is it possible for "The Dark Knight Rises" to unhorse "The Avengers'" record of biggest opening weekend gross of all time?
Industry analysts are currently all over the spectrum, with many predicting an uphill battle for the film's quest to dethrone Joss Whedon and Marvel's summer blockbuster. However, if $198 million proves the most accurate estimate, "The Dark Knight Rises" would be in striking distance to beat the record setting opening weekend of "The Avengers'" $207.4 million opening.
Ultimately, "The Dark Knight Rises" sits at a disadvantage -- "The Avengers" earned 52% of its money from the higher 3D ticket prices and "The Dark Knight Rises" is only being shown in 2D and IMAX -- and it's also got a very long running time. Nolan's final "Batman" film is 21 minutes longer than "The Avengers" and follows "The Amazing Spider-Man's" release earlier this month, another superhero film that clocks in at over two hours long. Furthermore, Deadline reports the recent Viacom/DirecTV battle has prevented a number of "The Dark Knight Rises" ads from airing in certain amrkets.
However, no matter what the opening box office take, "The Dark Knight Rises" is easily one of the most anticipated films of the year and only time will tell if it can rise above and break some records during its opening weekend.