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Sunday, August 10, 2008

'The Dark Knight' tops fourth straight weekend, surpasses $700m worldwide, August 8-10, 2008

For the fourth straight weekend the marketplace was consumed by The Dark Knight, topping the box office once again with a strong $26 million, fending off newcomer Pineapple Express while pushing its total to a jaw-dropping $441.5 million.

Falling just 39% in its fourth weekend, Warner Bros.' blockbuster superhero pic The Dark Knight brought in another $26 million, bringing its 24-day cume to an amazing $441.5 million, pushing itself to the No. 3 spot on the all-time domestic list, behind only Titanic's $600.8 million and Star Wars' $461 million. The Christopher Nolan directed pic should surpass Star Wars by the end of next weekend for the No. 2 spot.

If those lofty numbers don't make your head shake, the Caped Crusader also blew past the $700 million mark worldwide ($704.6m), adding $35.1 million internationally this weekend putting its overseas cume at $263.1 million. Budgeted at $185 million, the Heath Ledger-Christian Bale starrer put up fantastic fourth-weekend numbers despite the opening of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. NBC reported that ratings for the Opening Ceremonies were the most watched non-U.S. Olympic Games in history.

By next weekend, The Dark Knight will have made more than the last three Batman films combined in North America, and at its current pace should finish with $525 million domestic.

The stoner action-comedy Pineapple Express debuted in second with a strong $22.4 million over the weekend, and $40.5 million since its Wednesday launch. Budgeted at a modest $27 million, the R-rated Sony comedy averaged a strong $7,292 in 3,072 theaters. Produced by Judd Apatow and starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, Pineapple Express was helped by a strong marketing campaign, solid reviews and the seemingly meteoric rise in popularity of both star Rogen and uber-comedy producer Apatow. For Roger, Pineapple debuted lower than his 2007 juggernaut comedy pairs Superbad and Knocked Up, which opened with $33m and $30.6m respectively. Superbad finished with $121.4 million domestic, while Knocked Up raked in $148.7 million.

Tumbling a predictable 60% from its opening weekend was The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, finishing in third with $16.1 million. In ten day the $145 million budgeted sequel has grossed $70.7 million. The fall was much greater than its two predecessors, with 1999's The Mummy slipping just 43% in its sophomore frame, and 2001's The Mummy Returns falling 51%. At its current pace, look for Dragon Emperor to finish with just over $100 million domestic. Overseas, the Universal pic has been performing much stronger, pulling in $56.1 million this weekend pushing its international cume to $141.1 million.

Debuting in fourth was the Warner sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, which debuted in fourth with an estimated $10.8 million over the weekend, bringing its total since Wednesday to $19.7 million. The five-day haul was stronger than its 2005 predecessor, which took in $13.6 million over its first five days, finishing with $39 million domestic. Budgeted at a modest $27 million, look for the well-reviewed Warner sequel to finish with close to $50 million domestic.

With no major hit debuts this weekend the top ten films managed just $106.6 million, down a hefty 20% from last year's comparable frame when Rush Hour 3 topped with $49.1 million.

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