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Monday, September 1, 2008

'Tropic Thunder' strikes again, while 'Dark Knight' topples $500m, August 29-Sept. 1, 2008

The marketplace ended a surprisingly strong summer off with a whimper this Labor Day weekend, as the top ten films managed a mere $86.4 million over the four-day holiday frame (down 24% from last year). Led by three week champ Tropic Thunder, moviegoers were largely unimpressed by any new offerings from the studios as Babylon A.D., Traitor, and Disaster Movie all disappointed in their opening frames. Meanwhile, the biggest news of the weekend had to be The Dark Knight becoming just the second (and fastest) film to ever break $500 million in the domestic box office, a truly amazing feat for the Caped Crusader.

With three debuts to contend with, Paramount/DreamWorks' war-comedy Tropic Thunder managed to hold onto the top spot for the third consecutive weekend, falling just 29% to $14.3 million. That brings the $90 million budgeted pic's total to an impressive $86.6 million in 18 days of release, essentially assuring the film will break $100 million in North America. Thanks to good word of mouth and a dire lack of competitors throughout August, the Ben Stiller-Robert Downey Jr. starrer should finish with $110-115 million by the end of its run. For Robert Downey Jr., this was one big summer. May's blockbuster Iron Man kicked off the summer season with a shocking $317.5 million, potentially giving the actor a combined $430 million in domestic sales in a matter of four and a half months.

Studios are usually relegated to dumping semi-sizeable summer release fodder over the Labor Day weekend and this year was no different with the opening of Fox's disastrously reviewed actioner Babylon A.D.. Budgeted at $70 million, the Vin Diesel starrer took in just $12 million over the four-day weekend, averaging a sorry $3,540 in 3,390 theaters. From Friday-Sunday, the R-rated sci-fi thriller managed just $9.6 million, averaging just $2,822.

It was just one in a long line of big budget bombs for Fox, as the studio failed to produce a $100 million summer hit for the first time since 1997. That's an incredible 10-year streak broken by a string of highly disappointing and poorly reviewed releases this summer ranging from What Happens in Vegas ($80m) and The Happening ($64m), to Meet Dave ($11.6m) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe ($20.7m), which also wins the award for worst movie title of 2008.

Falling just 18% to $8.6 million over the three-day weekend and $11 million over the four-day holiday frame, Warner's record-shattering blockbuster The Dark Knight surged past the $500 million barrier, becoming the fastest film in history to do so in just 45 days. It was also just the second film to ever break the mark, following 1997's Titanic with $600 million. At its current pace look for the film to rake in $525 million domestic, and another $500 million worldwide, putting the film over the $1 billion mark worldwide.

Sony's comedy The House Bunny finished in fourth with $10.2 million over the holiday weekend, bringing its 11 day total to $29.8 million. Budgeted at just $25 million, the Anna Faris starrer should finish with $45-50 million domestic.

In fifth was Don Cheadle's thriller Traitor, which rounded out the top five with $10 million, and $11.5 million over its six-day opening starting on Wednesday. Averaging a solid $4,869 in 2,054 theaters, the Overture Films production received largely mixed reviews from critics.

Lionsgate's spoof comedy Disaster Movie crapped out $6.9 million over its four day bow, averaging just $2,604 in 2,642 theaters. Budgeted at just $20 million, its three-day take was just $5.8 million, much lower than similar release debuts Meet the Spartans ($18.5m) and Epic Movie ($18.6m). LOook for a quick exit for the poorly-reviewed release.

Universal's Mamma Mia! continue its path as the Hairspray of 2008, experiencing a 1% uptick in sales to $5.8 million. The musical took in $6.9 million over the four-day frame, pushing its cume to an incredible $132.9 million. Budgeted at just $65 million, the Meryl Streep starrer should finish with $145 million domestic. Internationally the film has been even better, amassing $206.7 million, pushing its worldwide take to $339 million.

1 comment:

movie buff said...

the previews for Babylon AD made me expect something a lot more original... it totally felt like a cross between Minority Report and the Fifth Element