'The Dark Knight' Abides|
Third Straight Weekend at the Top|
In spite of all those ?The Mummy Will Put the Wraps on Dark Knight? headlines in trade papers, Christopher Nolan?s second Batman movie eked out a narrow victory over its strongest challenger yet, earning an estimated $43.8 million to The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor?s $42.45 million. The Dark Knight dropped just 41.7% in its third frame, while still averaging a potent $10,267 per venue. Nolan?s new Gotham City saga has now earned some $395 million, and should pass $400 million on Monday. While it appears unlikely that The Dark Knight will top Titanic?s mammoth $600 million cumulative, it now appears that it will end up over $500 million as the second highest-grossing film of all time and will almost certainly be the biggest box office hit of 2008.
Rob Cohen?s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor added some top Asian stars (Jet Li, Michele Yeoh) to the modern Mummy film?s effects-heavy, Indiana Jones-light adventure film formula, but failed to match the opening numbers of either of the first two films in the franchise. In general bad reviews don?t matter much in opening of a big action film, but combined with mediocre word-of-mouth, they can be deadly in subsequent weekends, and the new Mummy film?s notices were truly wretched?only one out of ten was positive according to Rotten Tomatoes. With no 3D scenes or other gimmicks to keep audiences interested (as is the case in Brendan Fraser?s other cheesy summer release, Journey to the Center of the Earth, which remained at #5), look for a substantial second week decline for new Mummy movie.
Two potent holdovers with strong ?legs,? the Will Smith-powered Hancock and Pixar?s Wall-e, both passed the $200 million mark this week. Hancock has overcome generally poor notices (38% positive) and could end up around $250 million, while Wall-e should overtake Kung-Fu Panda and finish as the top animated feature release of 2008.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe?s reviews (32% positive) weren?t much worse than Hancock?s, but the latest Mulder and Scully opus has just not achieved lift off. Its box office total plunged 65.8% and its meager $17 million cumulative lags ignominiously behind even that of Space Chimps. It appears that the only hope for this latest (and possibly last) X-Files film is appealing to the once mammoth TV audience for X-Files on DVD.
Hellboy II and Wanted both fell out of the top 10 this week. After opening at #1 Hellboy has all but disappeared in the wake of The Dark Knight, which opened one week after Hellboy II. Disney?s recent decision to move The Prince of Persia movie?s opening from 2009 to 2010 was undoubtedly due in large part to Hellboy?s example. The Prince of Persia?s vacated slot was just a week before the opening of the expected blockbuster Transformers II (see ?Disney Moves Prince of Persia to 2010?) and the Mouse House clearly didn?t want The Prince of Persia to suffer a fate like Hellboy II?s.
Wanted pulled closer to The Incredible Hulk (just $2 million separate the two films), while Iron Man (in its 14th week) actually out-earned the Hulk (in only its 8th week) and remains just over $1 million ahead of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the #2 film of the summer.