Story by: Jack Foley
BATMAN began with a healthy $46.9 million take in US cinemas
over the June 17-20 weekend, but the Caped Crusader's opening
haul wasn't enough to save Hollywood from its worst box office
slump in 20 years.
According to studio estimates, Batman Begins has now grossed
roughly $71.1 million since opening on Wednesday, June 15, 2005
- making it a major success for studio, Warner Bros.
The film - which follows the origins of the Dark Knight - stars
Christian Bale, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and
Gary Oldman (among others). It was directed by British helmer,
The success of the film - both critical and commercial - should
now be enough to guarantee a sequel, rumoured to feature another
of Batman's nemesis', The Joker.
However, the figures weren't enough to halt the slump in box
office fortunes in the US, which is now the worst for 20 years.
According to industry bible, the Hollywood Reporter, the top
12 movies this week took in $128.5 million, which was down 1.6%
from the same weekend in 2004.
Although studio executives have subsequently
blamed the downturn on a comparatively weak line-up of movies
this year - with just a few really big titles vying for the top
spots in the charts.
It is not yet clear how much of an impact DVD sales, or internet
piracy, or even illegal DVD sales, have had on an industry.
Certainly, Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros,
said it would take some time to figure out the true cause of the
He told the Hollywood Reporter: "You can't do it by looking
at six months; I think you have to take a couple of years to look
"We're still product-driven, and even though there were
and will continue to be strong movies in the Summer, I don't think
there have been enough of them."
As for how Batman Begins fared in comparisons to previous Batman
films is difficult to tell, given the rising price of tickets
and the fact that earlier films only opened on Fridays.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, earlier Bat flicks had opening
weekends ranging from $40.5 million to $52.8 million.
It is anticipated that Batman Begins will complete its first
week with around $85 million, compared to a range of $59 million
to $77 million for the previous Batman movies.
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