Dark Knight Rises has a lot of people seeing dollar signs, and chief among them are the executives at IMAX. Earlier this week, Comicbook.com speculated that one of the five reasons that the Dark Knight Rises could beat the Avengers at the box office could be because of IMAX ticket sales. We noted that a large part of the Dark Knight Rises was shot in IMAX and that die-hard fans would want to see the movie in the IMAX format. We even predicted that the Dark Knight Rises will break all previous records when it comes to IMAX ticket sales.
It seems like IMAX executives might be in agreement with us. In an interview with Variety, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond says that IMAX’s goal for 2012 is to generate close to a billion dollars in box office on their giant screens. While the article primarily focuses on IMAX’s overseas expansion, The Dark Knight Rises is one of the few 2012 movies that is specifically called out in the piece.
In regards to directors that have begun working with IMAX before a film is shot, Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan is mentioned along with Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Tim Burton, and Brad Bird. In total, IMAX has roughly twenty-five different films slated for 2012, and The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are the three films mentioned as examples.
Gelfond also pointed out that The Dark Knight opened in 149 IMAX theaters, but the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises will open in about 600 IMAX theaters. Gelfond is quoted as saying, “Four times the size in four years: I think that says it all.”
In an article on The Wrap, IMAX President Greg Foster also showed his love for The Dark Knight Rises. Foster revealed that The Dark Knight Rises will play in IMAX theaters for at least two months, even though they are only contractually committed to run the film for two weeks. Foster is quoted as saying, “We’re big Chris Nolan fans. He’s as strong a partner as we’ve ever had, and anything he does, we’re in all the way.”
The Dark Knight pulled in $65 million during its run in IMAX theaters, which means a realistic estimate for The Dark Knight Rises could be $260 million, since it’s playing on four times the number of IMAX screens. This would mean that The Dark Knight Rises by itself could account for over one-fourth of IMAX’s billion dollar goal. It also means that The Dark Knight Rises has a real shot at unseating Avatar, which holds the record at $242 million as the highest-grossing IMAX film of all time.