"A week ago, I would have said no, I don't think [The Dark Knight Rises] has a chance. I do believe it could have a chance now after hearing what the screening reports were from the buyers," says Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst and a former AMC Entertainment exec. "It is evidently an outstanding film -- possibly the best of the three Christopher Nolan entries into the Batman pantheon."
That said, Stone points out that The Dark Knight Rises has some pretty big hurdles to tackle en route to surpassing the $200 million mark on opening weekend. "The Dark Knight doesn't have the benefit of being in 3D, which adds to box office pull by 10-12-13 percent, because 35-40 percent of the tickets are sold in 3D, and 3D ticket prices are around $3 more," says Stone. "The Avengers is certainly more accessible to young children, too."
Stone isn't a psychic, but his track record in predicting box office performance is an impressive 85 percent. He even correctly called that Ted would be a surprise breakout hit of the summer before the flick about the outlandish teddy bear hit theaters. "I was pretty confident that [the studio] could sell it. It lends itself to being accessible to a strong marketing campaign," Stone explains. "We thought the word of mouth would be strong too."
(Curious about the other two major releases coming up this summer? We were, too, so we picked Stone's brain about Total Recall and The Bourne Legacy. Here's what he had to say:)
Total Recall I saw about 10-15 minutes at CinemaCon. It looks spectacular. It's visually fascinating and the story is good. Science-fiction is very big right now. You've got Kate Beckinsale and Colin Farrell, known names. I believe Total Recall could easily reach $90 million to $115 million or so.
The Bourne Legacy I'm not sure that the Bourne series is as dependent on who plays the Bourne character as it is in delivering the action sequences and the story. I don't think Jeremy Renner is a big box office draw. But then, I don't think Matt Damon is a huge box office draw. Not everything he comes out in is guaranteed to do business. The thing that sells The Bourne Legacy is the fact that it has Bourne in the title and it's a continuation of the Bourne story. We're predicting something in the low hundred-million-dollar range.