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Sunday, August 3, 2008

'The Dark Knight' swoops towards $400m in just 17 days, tops b.o. once again, August 1-3, 2008

For the third straight weekend the Caped Crusader topped the box office, stuffing another massive $43.8 million in its coffers on its record march towards $400 million, fending off big budget challenger The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in the process.

Warner Bros.' blockbuster The Dark Knight fell just 42% to an estimated $43.8 million, surprisingly topping the box office for the third straight weekend, bringing its 17 day total to an incredible $394.9 million. The $185m budgeted superhero pic took just 14 days to reach $350 million, and will likely surpass $400 million on Monday, its 18th day of release, easily shattering the record for fastest film to the mark set by 2004's Shrek 2 in 43 days. Only seven films have ever surpassed $400 million and just one film has ever broken past $500 million domestic, 1997's $600 million grossing Titanic. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the sequel now sits at No. 8 on the all-time domestic list, surpassing the $380.3 million haul of 2005's Star Wars: Episode III.

At its current pace The Dark Knight seems like a shoe in to surpass the $461 million domestic total of 1977's Star Wars as the second highest grossing film of all-time, and should become just the second film in history to surpass $500 million in North America. Look for the Heath Ledger starrer to have a strong August and finish with roughly $535 million by the end of its record-smashing run. Internationally, The Dark Knight grossed another strong $37 million, bringing its overseas cume to $202.5 million. That puts its worldwide haul at a staggering $597.4 million in three weeks, making the $1 billion global mark look like a no brainer.

Universal ponied up nearly $150 million bringing the Mummy franchise back into theaters, and were rewarded with a strong, but perhaps less than hoped for $42.5 million opening. Launching in 3,760 theaters and averaging $11,303, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor posted the lowest opening of any Mummy film. 1999's The Mummy bowed with $43.4 million on its way to $155.3 million domestic. 2001's The Mummy Returns opened with $68.1 million on its way to a franchise record $202 million domestic. Reviews for the big budget sequel were dismal, with just 9% of critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com recommending the film. However, just a 4% drop in sales from Friday to Saturday means the film might be playing better with moviegoers than critics. Still, don't expect the Brendan Fraser-Jet Li starrer to come close to breaking even in North America.

Overseas Dragon Emperor took in $59.5 million from 28 territories, giving the film the top spot globally with a strong $102 million. Look for a majority of its total gross to come from the international market.

Will Ferrell's Step Brothers fell 47% to $16.3 million, pushing its ten-day cume to $63 million. Look for the $65m budgeted Sony comedy to finish with close to $100 million domestic.

Universal's musical Mamma Mia! slipped just 26% to $13.1 million, pushing its three week cume to an excellent $88 million. Budgeted at $52 million, the Meryl Streep starrer should finish with $115-120 million domestic.

New Line/Warner's sleeper hit Journey to the Center of the Earth continued its fantastic run, falling just 29% to $6.9 million, bringing its four week cume to $73.1 million. At its current pace, the $60m budgeted 3D film should finish close to $100 million domestic.

The weekend's only other debut was Kevin Costner's political comedy Swing Vote, which opened with a disappointing $6.3 million in sixth. Averaging just $2,847 in 2,213 theaters, the $21 million budgeted Buena Vista pic was poorly received with critics. Look for the film to have trouble breaking even theatrically.

Pixar-Disney's Wall•E fell a top ten best 26% despite losing nearly 500 theaters this weekend, earning $4.7 million and pushing its six week cume to $204.2 million. That's just a couple million dollars behind last year's global hit Ratatouille which took in $206.4 million domestic and $621 million worldwide. At its current pace the $180 million budgeted film looks likely to surpass DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda ($210.4m) as the highest grossing animated pic of 2008.

Despite the fantastic staying power of The Dark Knight, a disappointing bow from The Mummy caused the box office to finish down 8% from last year's comparable frame when The Bourne Ultimatum opened with $69.3 million. However, it was up a healthy 25% from 2006 when Talladega Nights topped with $47 million.


Xavier said...

Hi Stephen,

It's great to see TDK topping the box office chart for another weekend. I have a question, do box office reporters in the US only provide weekend gross for the box office? I noticed sites like Yahoo! movies, your site and some other box office sites only state the weekend gross instead of the full week's gross (Monday to Sunday from the second week onwards). May I know why is it so?

Stephen Wong said...

Weekend totals have always been the standard measure for box office performance since these numbers began being tracked by the public at large. That's why records are usually based on weekend performance and overall grosses. It's not that weekday totals don't mean anything (obviously they do and they still count towards overall grosses), but it's much harder to determine how films are doing by analyzing weekday figures (Mon-Thurs), since ticket sales are much lower and less significant than weekend totals. This is particularly true during the non-summer months.

Sites like boxofficemojo.com report daily figures if you're interesting in seeing those numbers however.

yay movies said...

Sounds like Tomb of the Dragon Emperor met everyone's expectations... Brendan Frasier tries too hard to act, so you can tell he's acting