‘Tropic Thunder’ Defeats ‘The Clone Wars’

After four incredible weeks atop the box office, The Dark Knight was finally brought down to Earth by the Frat Pack. Tropic Thunder launched with a solid $25.8 million from 3,319 theaters over the weekend and $36.8 million since its Wednesday debut. The action comedy became the 7th ‘R’ rated film of the summer to open over $20 million compared to just three from last summer and one from 2006. The $6.5 million Wednesday opening day was considerably lower than the $12 million opening Wednesday tally from Pineapple Express, but Tropic Thunder displayed consider growth as the weekend progressed. It’s nearly $26 million weekend tally was slightly better than the $23.2 million from Pineapple‘s first weekend. This makes the long term prospects better for Thunder, but on the down side, the budget for the film is reported to be over twice that of Pineapple‘s.

Tropic Thunder

Opening in third to un-franchise-like results was Star Wars: The Clone Wars with just $14.6 million from a very wide 3,452 theaters. The animated film was never expected to come even close to the heights of the live action Star Wars films, but most of the industry pegged it to open in at least the low-20’s range. Even worse, the film dropped nearly 20% on Saturday and another 33% on Sunday, indicating a very frontloaded film. Most of the die-hard fans have already seen the animated space opera, which is set between Episodes II and III, and its not creating much interest among more casual fans of the franchise. The Warner Bros. film will likely finish below $40 million.

The Star Wars franchise suffered another blow this weekend thanks to The Dark Knight. $16.4 million from over the weekend was enough to push it past the original Star Wars to become number two on the all time domestic chart. The Bat has collected a massive $471.1 million in just 31 days and is on pace to crack $500 million by Labor Day.

Debuting in fourth place to decent numbers was Mirrors. The ‘R’ rated horror film from 20th Century Fox opened to $11.2 million from 2,664 theaters. With the arrival of another ‘R’ rated action comedy, Pineapple Express posted a large 58% drop for a $9.8 million weekend and $62.7 million 12 day total. An $80-$85 million final should result.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor continued to fade away falling over 50% with $8.2 million in its third weekend. With $86.2 million so far, a total just north of $100 million is likely. In seventh, Mamma Mia! continued to impress with $6.1 million in its fifth weekend, off only 26% from last week. After similar openings, the ABBA musical will pass Hairspray‘s total in just a few days. Another chick flick, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, fell 46% in its second weekend with $5.8 million. The $32 million 12 day total is considerably higher than its predecessor through the same point in its run. In ninth, Step Brothers continued its predictable run dropping 47% with $4.8 million in its fourth weekend. With $90.7 million so far, a $100 million+ total is likely.

In tenth place, Vicky Cristina Barcelona posted the largest opening for a Woody Allen film in nearly a decade. The well-reviewed film debuted with $3.8 million from just 692 sites for a good $5,427 per theater average. That average indicates that there might be room for Vicky to expand in the coming weeks.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Falling to 11th in its sixth weekend, Journey to the Center of the Earth dropped just 31% to $3.3 million. With $88 million in the bank, the 3D feature may be able to squeeze out a $100 million total. Another 3D film, Fly Me to the Moon, opened in 12th place with $1.9 million from 452 digital 3D screens. The animated film did not enjoy the success that Journey had for several reasons. Moon was shown only in 3D and had to share many of its screens with Journey, while the latter film opened in both 3D and 2D locations. Moon was also distributed by a rookie studio, Summit Entertainment.

Another animated film, Wall-E, fell out of the top ten in its eighth weekend, with $1.8 million and a running tally of $214.1 million. The lovable robot is now the highest grossing animated film of the year.

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Box Office Data Source: The Numbers