and as Warner Bros. already knows from
, moviegoers consider concluding or even Part One of multi-concluding episodes to be must-see movies. But after that box office bonanza, it's all over and the only thing a studio can do is come up with another blockbuster franchise, which--guess what--isn't the easiest thing in the world to do!
opened to $138.1 million in November 2011. That was more than twice the $64.8 million that the previous episode,
opened to in June 2010. The franchise's final episode,
is scheduled to hit theatres Nov. 16 via Lionsgate, which acquired Summit earlier this year, and is expected to do huge business.
, Warner Bros. enjoyed phenomenal business with both parts of the series' finale.
opened in Nov. 2010 to $125 million. That was about 60 percent more than the $77.8 million that
opened to in July 2009. The final episode,
opened in July 2011 to $169.2 million. That was about 35 percent more than
Clearly, there are great expectations now for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' PG-13 rated
trilogy, opening July 20.
On hand once again are Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. But there's also an all-star cast of series newcomers, including Anne Hathaway as Catwoman/Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard.
Warners is marketing Rises
with the perfect tagline The legend ends, which tells moviegoers all they need to know to start booking their tickets. Expectations for Rises
are huge given the film's rising tracking scores. To give you a sense of just how big huge is, Fox and Blue Sky Studios' PG rated 3D animated comedy adventure Ice Age: Continental Drift
, was tracking as a first choice film in very high single digits when it opened last weekend to a terrific $46 million. Rises
, however, is tracking four times bigger than Drift
one week prior to hitting theatres.
' tracking scores are enviably high with all demos, its greatest strength is with men. Adult men are slightly more eager to see it than fanboys--but at this writing the point spread's only about two percent between under-25 males and 25-plus males. Women are interested in seeing Rises
about half as much as men, but those female scores are still significantly bigger than the female scores for anything else on the tracking horizon right now. Looking at ethnic demo scores, Rises
is a giant across the board and is showing particular strength with Latinos.
Hollywood marketers never like to go out on a limb in predicting how they think their films will do at the box office. In fact, the film industry standard is to try to keep expectations low. Nonetheless, what insiders have been buzzing about is whether Rises
can open with the same strength that Disney and Marvel Studios' The Avengers
displayed when it arrived May 4 to $207.4 million. After 11 weeks in domestic theatres, Avengers has grossed nearly $614 million.
Nolan's previous Batman
trilogy episode, The Dark Knight
, opened July 18, 2008 to $158.4 million and wound up doing $533.3 million domestically. His first Batman movie, Batman Begins
, opened June 15, 2005 to $48.7 million and did $205.3 million domestically. If Rises
follows in Avengers
' footsteps, Nolan's Batman
trilogy will end with a mega-blockbuster bang. But there still has to be life after Batman
and Warners has been working hard on how to meet that challenge.
One of the best solutions is Warners and Legendary Pictures' 3D reboot of the studio's Superman
franchise, Man of Steel
. Opening next mid-June, it stars Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/ Superman, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Steel
is directed by Zack Snyder. The film's producing team includes Christopher Nolan, who was also a producer of The Dark Knight
and The Dark Knight Rises
To get the Superman
reboot buzz going early, Warners had Snyder and Cavill on hand last Saturday to sign autographs for fanboy geeks attending Comic-Con, the annual all-things-comic book convention in San Diego. The Comic-Con crowd got a preview look at some footage from Man
, which is said to have played exceptionally well.
Snyder and Cavill both spoke to fans at a panel session held by Warners and Legendary that also included Legendary chief Thomas Tull. Snyder was asked about the status of the studio's Justice League
project that could hit theatres in 2015 and would team up Batman and Superman and other superheroes from Warners' comic book subsidiary DC Entertainment. Snyder reportedly replied that for Justice to move forward, Superman first needed to get his house in order.
Snyder's also been quoted as telling Comic-Con fans that with the new Superman, It's about making him work and making him cool.
would be Warners and Legendary's rough equivalent of Disney and Marvel's superhero mash-up Avengers
. If Justice
equals or surpasses Avengers
' at the global box office, Warners and Legendary would be Hollywood superheroes.
has thus far grossed over $613 million domestically and over $844 million internationally for a global cume of approximately $1.5 billion.
is only the third film ever to reach the $600 million domestic box office threshold. It ranks as the third biggest film ever globally and domestically and as the number four film of all time internationally.
Bottom Line: Batman
may be saying goodbye, but Superman
's going to fly again.