The Dark Knight has been subject to diminishing domestic returns ever since it opened, with a far lighter falloff than the vast majority of other films, but still no match for what Titanic did on its way to setting the all-time record for worldwide gross. Titanic didn't open all that strongly but actually increased its take on some weekends and just kept pulling in the same decent haul week after week, topping the charts for something like three straight months.
The first and best sign that Dark Knight won't take the crown is that it'll probably drop out of first place this weekend after four weeks on top.
$708 million worldwide is impressive to be sure, good enough for third all-time domestic just $15 million behind Star Wars (1977) for second at $445 million, but well behind Titanic's $600 million. The worldwide list is a much tougher nut to crack due to the varying interests of a global audience. While Titanic made $600 million at home for example, it made the majority of its scratch -- $1.2 billion -- overseas. You'll find generally that any film assaulting the all-time list is going to have to do spectacularly at home, but even better across the pond.
Dark Knight has only managed $263 million in the foreign boxoffice which means it's not going to march up the worldwide list as far as you might think. In fact, even though it'll take #2 at home, it's just 30th globally. It'd need another $206 million just to reach 10th place Jurassic Park. Here are some notable movies that Dark Knight blew away at home but will never catch globally:
#2 - The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King ($1.1 billion) #3 - Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($1.066 billion) #4 - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($976 million) ... #30 - Batman: The Dark Knight ($708 million)
Right now I'm hearing stories about the third Mummy film beating Dark Knight over seas -- that's not good.
There is no question, Dark Knight will not be the best grossing film of all time. It simply doesn't have the global appeal, it's too much of an American movie.
Now, that isn't the question I asked in the title. The question at hand is will Dark Knight fall from first this weekend when the Star Wars animated feature debuts. Well, since a movie from 1977 without accounting for inflation is the only thing standing between Dark Knight and #2 domestic all-time, I'd say the chances are extremely good that Clone Wars will probably bust Batman's bubble.
Speaking of Star Wars, am I the only person who thinks the quality of this animated feature is absolute junk that looks like it was rendered fifteen years ago? I don't know if the effects house went for that look intentionally or if they just phoned it in, but they look simply awful compared to what these companies are capable of producing today.
Although I'll readily admit that my opinion on Star Wars doesn't mean much, and my understanding of CGI is anything but definitive, but it seems as if the ugly retro look of the film is the least of its problems. Michael Rechtshaffen for the Hollywood Reporter called Clone Wars "uninspired" and "more like a feature-length promo for the imminent TV series of the same name than a stand-alone event."
A lot of people seemed put off by the disappointing prequel movies, even though I think Attack Of The Clones was pretty entertaining. Lucas wrote the script with Jonathan Hales and I've heard the argument that Lucas isn't a terribly talented writer on his own and that he benefits strongly from funneling his vision through other more talented third parties. I can't speak to that anymore than I can walk up to an Olympic gold medalist and tell them they suck, but my own inability to step up doesn't mean the argument is without merit.
Regardless, Clone Wars I think is going to down Dark Knight this weekend ending its run at just four weeks on top. Impressive, but not the best ever.
I'm not sure any film will ever truly challenge Titanic.