With his Dark Knight trilogy, director Christopher Nolan created not only three of the most acclaimed superhero films ever made, but three of the most financially successful. The Dark Knight Rises is still raking in cash in theaters around the world, but depending on how you look at it, a much older Batman film is actually more successful.
Nolan's final Batman film has now passed the $900 million mark worldwide, but if you examine statistics beyond money, it turns out other Batman films were actually more popular with moviegoers. When you look at the number of tickets sold and not the amount of money made, Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman is actually way ahead.
This discovery comes courtesy of blogger and professional movie geek Brian Collins, who was tinkering around at movie stats site Box Office Mojo when he realized that he could compare the two movies by tickets sold and not by box-office take. According to Box Office Mojo estimates, which are calculated based on average ticket price, Batman sold something like 62,954,600 tickets with an average price of $3.97 (damn, remember when they were that cheap?), while The Dark Knight Rises has so far sold 50,635,700 tickets at an average price of $8.02. Granted, these numbers aren't exact, and Dark Knight Rises still has a bit of earning left to do, but we could end up with at least a 10-million-ticket gap between the first Batman flick and the most recent one.
We're living in an age of massive box-office hauls, which is all well and good for Hollywood, but this isn't the first time experts have noted that past films were actually more successful. The most successful film of all time, adjusted for inflation, is not James Cameron's Avatar, but the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind. Now it turns out Burton's outsold Nolan, but not every time. The Dark Knight, still the most successful Batman film of all time, sold about 74 million tickets. Marvel's The Avengers, in case you were wondering, put up 76 million.