An ominous prediction is contained in this Dark Knight analysis from Morgan Stanley guy Evan Boucher, to wit: “So TDK did $75 million on its second weekend for a 10-day tally of about $314 million. Well and good, but I’m nonetheless persuaded that this is the last $500 million (or possibly $400 million) theatrical release you or I will ever see.
“It’s obvious that The Dark Knight is an extremely rare combination of a hundred different things it has going for it, but unlike Star Wars and Titanic, where you had small numbers of people going 3, 4 or 7 times, The Dark Knight has had, judging from what I’ve seen, larger numbers of people going twice, even if only to get a firm handle on the story.
“If and when this hits $500 million, the question will have to be ‘how do you recreate all the things that needed to happen for this to get to that mark? Even if TDK crosses the $500 million mark it’s fairly assured that it won’t overtake Titanic (which ended up with a domestic total of $600 million) unless there’s a December re-release before the DVD is available.
“In any event, the theatrical clock is ticking. Just as VHS changed the way people watch movies, and as DVD continued that evolution starting in the late ’90s, everyone has to just shut up and admit that people are going to be watching new-release mainstream feature films in their homes on opening night within the next two years and multiplexes will be folding like origami.
“Maybe the studios will make more money that way, but, like Blockbuster Video, the days of the megaplex uber-blockbuster are over. The likely scenario is that for theater releases, The Dark Knight is the last unicorn.”