We all knew that The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary for the BBC’s long-running sci-fi adventure Doctor Who, was a big deal. But how big a deal was it? Aside from delighting Whovians the world over—check out David’s epic list of highlights—the special took on, and in at least one small way, defeated the biggest movie of the year, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
In addition to being simulcast around the world, followed by numerous rebroadcasts, Day of the Doctor also played in 3D in a handful of movie theaters across the country. This is where it battled Catching Fire, and on a per screen basis, the Doctor bested Katniss and her folk. While the hotly anticipated follow up to the Hunger Games brought in an average of $12,300 per screen on Saturday, the half-century celebration of the Time Lord raked in more than $13,000. Suck it, teens, the old folks are talking here.
This is, admittedly, a very skewed way to look at this situation. Catching Fire opened on more than 4100 screens on its way to an astonishing $307 million dollar worldwide weekend box office haul. On the other hand, The Day of the Doctor played on eleven screens, you have almost that many fingers. It isn’t much of a victory, but considering that the entire world apparently had Katniss fever last weekend, even a small win is still impressive. When you take on a juggernaut like this, not many walk away unscathed. More theaters, upwards of 650, have had 3D screenings of The Day of the Doctor yesterday, with solid turnouts as well.
As you probably guessed from the numbers, Catching Fire absolutely annihilated any and all competition at the box office. Thor: The Dark World, which has already topped $169 million, only managed to scrape up $14.1 million for second place in the US—less than one-tenth of what Catching Fire did domestically. It’s a solid movie to be sure, and a significant improvement over the first film in every conceivable way, but damn, that’s a lot of people buying a lot of movie tickets in a very short span. You know you’ve done something that has struck a public nerve when your movie is estimated to make a billion dollars. That doesn’t happen every day.
With all the brouhaha about Doctor Who turning 50, people are going to lose their damn minds when hit hits the century mark, assuming TV is still a thing that exists in 2063.