Batman's Hollywood bosses sound assured that big business for The Avengers will mean big business for The Dark Knight Rises.
"We've seen incredible interest this entire year," Warner Bros. exec Jeff Goldstein says. "The box office has been red hot. This is another example."
"This" was The Avengers' blowout. It came on the first weekend of the movie summer that was supposed to be, and may yet be, dominated by the final chapter in filmmaker Christopher Nolan's Caped Crusader trilogy.
"We'll let The Avengers stand on its own, and we'll let Dark Knight Rises stand on its own," says Goldstein.
But if Goldstein has to pick a horse, he's going to go with his studio's horse: "The movie fans want to see is Dark Knight Rises," he says.
Like Goldstein, Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock thinks The Avengers' success may fuel The Dark Knight Rises', that the reset button has been hit on expectations.
"That $200 million barrier can obviously be reached again," Bock says.
Not that it's going to be easy for The Dark Knight Rises, which, as much as anything is tasked with building on the Oscar-winning success of its 2008 predecessor, The Dark Knight.
Unlike The Avengers, which had an open field, The Dark Knight Rises is opening right in the middle of summer, on July 20. If movies like The Amazing Spider-Man, due out July 3, hang around, Bock thinks The Dark Knight Rises may be able to suck up only so much business.
Also, unlike The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises will be shown only in 2-D and 2-D IMAX, and will not benefit from the 3-D ticket prices that made up most of the Marvel movie's opening-weekend business.
Still, Bock says, "I certainly wouldn't count out Christopher Nolan and Batman."
That sentiment is being echoed in another place you might not expect: Stark Tower.
"I hope The Dark Knight Rises has as big as success as this," says Dave Hollis, an exec for Disney, which distributed The Avengers. "I hope they have this."