It’s a sad day in Gotham—The Dark Knight has finally fallen. After an unprecedented nine weeks in Manhattan’s box office top ten, Christopher Nolan’s landmark film fell from seventh place to the hinterlands beyond the tenth spot. Though the film did manage to hang on nationally, dropping from seventh to ninth place while pulling in $2.95 million for a $521.9 million gross.
The heir to Batman’s thrown, at least locally, seems to be Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (if such a thing can be imagined). During its sixth weekend in theaters, Vicky pulled in a respectable $95,509, which dropped it from fifth to seventh place. As the lone movie in the top ten that’s been in theaters for more than two weeks, Allen’s is the only local film showing any Dark Knight-esque staying power. Unfortunately, Woody isn’t fairing quite so well nationally—Vicky hasn’t been in the top ten since the middle of August.
So who knocked Batman off his mighty perch this week? That would be a total of five opening-day movies—a surprisingly large number for this time of year—including Neil LaBute’s Lakeview Terrace (featuring Samuel L. Jackson as Patrick Wilson’s murderous next-door neighbor who also happens to be a cop) finishing behind the Coens’ Burn After Reading at No. 2 and the critically-approved Ghost Town at No. 3 (featuring Ricky Gervais in his starring-role debut). There’s also the middling romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Girl at No. 6 (we liked the Cars song better), and two limited releases—the Keira Knightly vehicle The Duchess at No. 8 and Ed Harris’ western, Appaloosa, in tenth place.
Except for those two films, which most of the country couldn’t see anyway, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the local and national top tens were strikingly similar. Both lists were dominated by films in their first or second week of release, and both featured two opening-day movies in the top three. It is telling that Woody Allen’s film is the one that sticks out—that Vicky is the way Manhattan individualizes itself. As we’ve said before, Allen may be the most quintessentially New York film director and—for right or for wrong—his stubborn intellectualism, self-deprecating wit, and over-all nebbishness goes a long way toward describing what separates New Yorkers form the rest of the nation.
List of theaters: Paris, Zeigfeld, Oprheum, East 85th St., 86th St. East, 84th St., Lincoln Plaza, 62nd and Broadway, Lincoln Square, Magic Johnson, 72nd St East, Cinemas 1, 2 &3rd Ave, 64th and 2nd , Imaginasian, Manhattan Twin, First and 62nd St., Angelika Film Center, Quad, IFC Center, Film Forum, Village East, Village Seven, Cinema Village, Union Square, Essex, Battery Park 11, Sunshine, 34th Street, Empire, E-Walk, Chelsea, 19th Street East, and Kips Bay.
Manhattan Weekend Box Office: How moviegoers in the multiplexes of middle America choose to spend their ten-spot is probably a big deal in Hollywood. But here in Manhattan, the hottest movies aren’t always the ones making the big bucks nationwide. Using Nielsen numbers for Manhattan theaters alone and comparing them to the performance of the national weekend box office can tell you a lot about our Blue State sensibilities. Or nothing at all! Each Monday afternoon, we will bring you the results.