The Dark Knight Rises
Nolan's Batman III
Worldwide earnings $1,081,041,287 (Feb 2013)
$632,902,188 International. $448,139,099 domestic
Actual production budget reported as $250 million
Pearls before Bats
End of the line for the Chris Nolan Batman films
Near the start of our film we see Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) steal Bruce Wayne's mother's pearl necklace (Selina doesn't keep it long). At the end of the film, we will see the necklace on Selina all over again, in a much happier moment, and it ties up the Nolan Bros' film in a nice, neat package, that is, if you remember how important the image of the shattered pearl necklace was in Batman Begins, the first Nolan Batman film of the trilogy.
Keeping the Bat Alive
The major dilemma of Dark Knight Rises is how to have Batman (who appears to have a death wish) survive all the opportunities to have himself immolated on Gotham's behalf, a problem which the cynical Selina Kyle recognizes and has unexpected empathy for, and for which Alfred has no sympathy, a part of the cause of a rift in his relationship with the junior Wayne. This separation from Alfred lays Bruce Wayne open to something not intended by either: Bruce Wayne grows up.
The two Nolen's (Christopher and Jonathan) have written up The Dark Knight Rises as an epic showdown on the Wayne/Batman duality, and also on the legacy of Ras al Ghul, major villain of the first film, who might be dead (though he appears in Bruce Wayne's nightmares) but has long fingers from beyond his grave, influencing the actions of other cast members of this trilogy-ender.
A Tale of Two Cities
What's Batman up against? In the guise of a revolution against the corrupt political and social structure of Gotham, Villain Bane says "justice is coming to Gotham City," manipulating the anger and envy of Gotham's poor (barely seen), and especially the denizens of Blackgate prison (seen much more), populated with thugs imprisoned under the "Dent Act," named for Harvey Dent, the dead District Attorney who figured importantly in the previous Batman film The Dark Knight.
With Gotham in winter, Bane talks up justice, but instead what Gotham gets are kangaroo courts right out of Dicken's Tale of Two Cities, and the judge in the new Gotham system is Jonathan Crane (aka Scarecrow from the two previous Batman films played by actor Cillian Murphy). Scarecrow sentences everyone who comes before his bench (a stack of office desks one atop the other) to death or exile, both being a death sentence since no one can survive being pushed out on the ice of the river where "exile" begins.
Cats and Bats
The Anne Hathaway portrayal of classic Batman villain Selina Kyle is that of a hardened veteran jewel thief, ersatz neighborhood guardian (she lives in a tough part of town), and unlikely Batman compatriot. She has a reflexive hatred and cynicism about the charitable impulses of billionaires, but as the Nolan Bros' plot moves forward, Kyle's problems (having to do with having a dirty past that makes her manipulatable by other crooks) will end with Batman and "Catwoman" (she's never called this in the film) becoming each others rescuers. They not only understand each other, but they have the same problem, the crushing weight of the past.
Morgan Freeman's technology/science genius Lucius Fox is back again, and he's been essential for three films now, aiding Batman with gear and quips. Like Michael Caine's Alfred the Butler, Fox and Alfred see through everything and generally know (or sense) the truth before everyone else. They're the Wise-Men of Nolan's movies and they hardly ever fail. This isn't the case for Batman, who is always being beaten (physically and mentally) before he finally wins out. The issue, though, is that Alfred sees that Bruce Wayne can see his Batman story coming to only one possible ending, something that Batman confesses to Selina Kyle at a later moment.
Everyone in Dark Knight Rises is clever, or at least thinks of themselves as being smart (for example Ben Mendelsohn as criminal corporate raider Daggett, and Tom Hardy as Bane), and all the plotting and scheming by everyone makes for plenty of detective work for Batman (and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as policeman Blake) and there are a few twists in the story as all the disparate story-lines, one in particular featuring Marion Cotillard as Wayne Enterprises Board Member Miranda (Wayne's "stuck-up girlfriend" according to Kyle), all converge at the ending.
Blowing up Bruce Wayne was never a real possibility in Nolan's third movie (Adam West survived a similar situation in the 1966 Batman feature film), but there's tension generated as Batman gets himself painted into a corner by betrayals, and Nolan works it out by blowing up Batman after all, with an atom bomb, just not Wayne, too.
And it might be the only happy ending Wayne should get, because early on in Dark Knight Rises we see Nolan's Batman ethos worked out to a logical conclusion. Bruce Wayne on a cane, aged beyond his years, having outlived nearly everyone he loves (well, everyone from before he met Anne Hathaway) with his body malfunctioning from a career as a crime-fighter. We see early in The Dark Knight Rises that Wayne is rapidly running out of a future if he puts on the batsuit again. Probably the only unpleasant aspect of Nolan's film is that he doesn't follow through on this, but lets it get patched over in the movie with batsuit add-ons that compensate for failing body parts. Nolan raised the problem as a legitimate issue, and he proceeds to solve it in a rational, gadget-oriented way, failing to carry it through to the ending as one more reason Batman had to retire. Besides that, there's a certain ponderousness to The Dark Knight Rises which afflicts the movie from time to time as it moves around a very large cast of characters. Nolan tries to keep it all straight for us, with editing showing us rapid-fire images of characters in repeat in case we forgot who they are, which thankfully doesn't scramble the story but it does make the secondary characters a bit more vague, despite the visual reminders.
But, considering how Warner Bros has taken Bat-fans to task many times with mediocre sequels, getting Nolan to round-off his three Batman films with Bruce Wayne still alive and Gotham more or less in one piece, despite a 9/11-type of terrorist attack, with Alfred getting to have a nice vacation in Europe and Selina Kyle seated at Wayne's table (he's on vacation, too) that's not bad at all.
More Anne Hathaway
Dark Knight Rises
Not as lean and focused as 2008's The Dark Knight, but still a remarkable film in different ways for containing many subplots and action sequences, complicated but tied together at the end with an actual happy ending, which could hardly be hoped for considering all the angst from the massive guilt-trip that runs through predecessor Dark Knight (not that Rises doesn't continue Bruce Wayne's ever present emotional discord.)
Dark Knight vs Dark Knight Rises
A difference between Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises are the character interactions. With Heath Ledger's Joker on board for Dark Knight, the love (or hate) triangle between Batman - Joker - and Harvey Dent is heightened by Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) acting as the only completely sane person in the mix as the situation becomes increasingly desperate and unhinged during Joker's campaign of terror. There is also a big slice of paranoia in Dark Knight, since its not clear who is or isn't corrupted as Harvey Dent, Commissioner Gordon and Batman try to find a way together to fight the Joker, who for a good part of that film is beating them all at their own game.
Lunacy is missing from the main characters in Dark Knight Rises, which instead contains more calculating people - Marion Cotillard's scheming character of Miranda might be crazy (befitting the daughter of Ras al Ghul) but her plans are made to move forward by being completely rational and patient, as is Bane, her main henchman in the plot to destroy Gotham City. They use duplicity and strategic trickery, which is something that Joker and Harvey Dent hardly bothered with during Dark Knight, on the surface their characters fueled by emotions much more flamboyant and immediate.
Anne Hathaway is the jewel-thief in Dark Knight Rises who is obviously Catwoman, and she might be or might not be crazy, but she too is calculating and patient.
Dark Knight Rises on DVD/Bluray
Dec 4, 2012: Because the Aurora Theatre shooting slammed the original release of the movie (and the sale of the periphery items like toys), the release of the DVD/Bluray is another chance to unload all those toys (as this store is doing here with their cardboard display, combining them with the release of the DVDs and Bluray disks.) See this photo enlarged.
Summer box-office damaged by Aurora Theater shooting
Oct 22, 2012: Writer David Lieberman at Deadline Hollywood reports IMAX chief Greg Foster saying the Aurora Theater shooting damaged movie box office.
It seems to CBB that the shooting knee-capped Dark Knight Rises just as the ballyhoo surrounding the premiere was getting underway. The record-setting midnight showings seemed to set up an easy run for DKR into the billion-dollar-plus club, but with the shootings, progress slowed.
As it is, Dark Knight Rises reached the billion mark (Worldwide number $1,077,204,558 Boxoffice mojo) anyway, but the tragic event put an overall damper on summer box office, not just on IMAX showings.
Dark Knight Rises beats "Dark Knight" 2008 numbers
Aug 20, 2012: DKR has pulled in $488.6 million in oversea markets so far, well beyond the domestic market take which at present is at $407.7 million, and beats out the 2008 The Dark Knight which topped out at $469.7 million overseas. With many weeks of theater time left, and opening finally in Italy and China later this week, DKR should easily continue to mount the receipts toward something over the $1 billion mark from combined USA/Domestic/Foreign totals.
August 20, 2012: Dark Knight at $898,387,260 worldwide totals
Dark Knight Rises numbers still rising:
August 8, 2012: The shooting in Aurora knocked a big hole in the earnings trend for this film, but it has recovered considerably since then. DKR is only the third film for 2012 to stay in the lead three weekends in a succession.
$358,660,592 domestic earnings as of Aug 6, 2012
$378,400,000 foreign earnings as of Aug 6, 2012
= Toal $737.1 Millions
Dark Knight Rises still going strong
Aug 5, 2012: Amazing Spider-Man swung across $250 million USD domestic this weekend, but Nolan's Dark Knight Rises has stayed at the top for the third weekend in a row. This is only the third film for 2012 to stay in the lead three weeks in a succession.
Aftermath of the Shooting at the Aurora Movie Theatre
Update July 30, 2012: Many people who survided the Aurora Movie Theater shooting (some wearing casts) have appeared today in Batman t-shirts at the courthouse to attend the second hearing for alleged killer James Holmes.
Update July 25, 2012: Christian Bale has visited the shooting victims and the makeshift memorial at the Aurora movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, USA. Daily Mail UK has the story and plenty of photos.
Warner Bros has contributed money for the benefit of the shooting victims. There was a lot of online rumour for a few days that Warners might pull Dark Knight Rises entirely, and re-release in a few months, but that idea seems to have been scrapped.
Initially news reports on the shooting were heavily connecting Dark Knight Rises/Batman with the event, but stories since have shifted into psychiatric focused discussions of the alleged killer James Holmes, thus the negative-branding effect on Nolan's film and the entire Batman franchise is quickly decreasing. You can only imagine the fear on a corporate level that must have been in play following the first news reports. "Batman" has been a billion-dollar merchandising and entertainment property for Warners, and tarnishing that was (and is, if a copy-cat killer were to act, or if it were to be revealed Holmes is a devoted Batman fan) a frightening possibility.
Holmes himself is in police-custody and his mental condition is being debated in the media. It was found that a package with notes describing a plan for a shooting attack (illustrated with stick people being shot by a stick figure holding a weapon) was mailed from a return address supposedly Holmes' own, intended for a University of Colorado professor who treated people via a psychiatric outpatient facility. The man had not received the envelope, apparently the package languishing in the University mailroom. Whether the package could have been received earlier than the Aurora Theatre attack is not known.
"Killer Finale" - Entertainment Weekly DKR Covers
Bad timing for the enthusiastic Entertainment Weekly headline on the cover of their July 20, 2012 issue "Killer Finale."
Here it comes: Dark Knight Rises
Update July 20: In the wake of the Aurora movie theater shootings in Colorado, in which at least 13 people seated for a midnight screening of Dark Knight Returns were killed, the question arises whether this will slow down the DKR opening weekend juggernaut.
Dark Knight Rises is already at $68.4 million worldwide, with $28 million from midnight screenings, which beats out the Avengers Records.
MANY opening night theaters sold out, and tickets going for up to $150
July 19, 2012: The Wall Street Journal/Smart Money Blog reports on the demand for opening night tickets for Dark Knight Rises pushing up scalping prices to ranges of $150:
"As we reported earlier this year, some theaters introduced and swiftly sold out of IMAX tickets for the movie in January. In recent weeks, theaters in various markets reported even more sold-out midnight showings for regular and IMAX showings of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The allure: getting to see the movie first and in the company of other avid, and possibly costumed, fans. "
Nikki Finke is reporting that there are already $25+ million USD in ticket sales for the Thursday midnight opening across North America. Regarding the inevitable question, though:
"...can The Dark Knight Rises beat Marvel’s The Avengers in weekend grosses and records? Some moguls are telling me no, some moguls are telling me yes."
Fandango has reported that online ticket sales for Dark Knight Returns is constituting some 91%+ of their sales going into the weekend. They're also showing off the new IMAX BANE DKR poster.
Another Bane Poster: "Control Your City"
Dark Knight Rises, Imax Theater, Washington DC
Getting ready for Dark Knight Rises: inside the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, their Imax Theater (above). Below is the lobby area of the museum showing off Soviet missiles.
July 2012: Empire Magazine Batman Dark Knight Covers
June 2012: Anne Hathaway Catwoman Promo Poster
A United Kingdom poster image
June 22, 2012: Catwoman Promo Art for Dark Knight Rises
June 2012: New Dark Knight Rises Trailer
"Your wife said you were taking a cab..."
Dark Knight Rises Poster
A teaser-trailer is now out, attached to the last Harry Potter film (Deathly Hallows II). Cast for the Chris Nolan film 'Dark Knight Rises: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway (Catwoman), Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Juno Temple, Michael Caine, Matthew Modine
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Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Movies
Dark Knight Rises Promo Images
Click to enlarge images
Top Earning World Wide Superhero Films
List Updated July 17, 2017
*Currently in release in movie theatres
- The Avengers (2012 Marvel Studios) $1,511,757,910 Billion
- Avengers Age of Ultron (2015 Marvel Studios) $1.402 Billion
- Iron Man 3 (2013 Marvel Studios) $1,212,795,474 Billion
- Captain America Civil War: $1,153,294,011
- Dark Knight Rises (2012 Warners) 1,081,036,828 Billion
- The Dark Knight (2008 Warners Bros) $1,004,558,444 Billion
- Spiderman 3 (2007 Sony) $890.9 Million
- Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (Warners 2016) $872,662,631
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017 Marvel-Disney) $859,305,145 Million
- Spiderman (2002 Sony) $821.7 Million
15. Wonder Woman (2017 Warners) $764,886,078 Million
33. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017 Sony) $469,370,314 Million