‘The Dark Knight’ Fends off ‘The Mummy 3’

Despite a decent opening, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor wasn’t able to dethrone The Dark Knight over the weekend. Elsewhere, Swing Vote misfired with a opening outside of the top five. The overall box office fell behind last summer’s pace when The Bourne Ultimatum opened to $69.3 million setting the record for the biggest August opening.

The Dark Knight defied industry expectations and my own prediction that pegged Batman playing second fiddle to The Mummy 3. It’s the first film to stay on top for three consecutive weekends this year. Over the weekend, Knight collected an estimated $43.8 million, dipping only 42% and lifting its total to a gigantic $394.9 million in only 17 days. That tally now puts it at eighth among the top grossing films of all time sitting just behind Spider-Man. It’s on pace to become the fastest film to $400 million on Monday or Tuesday.

Dark Knight was second on Friday with $12.7 million, but the film rose a massive 37% on Saturday with $17.4 million, reclaiming its number one position in the process. It’s projected to fall 21% on Sunday with $13.7 million.

The latest Batman film continues to outperform to Dead Man’s Chest model. The second Pirates film fell 44% versus the 42% Knight fell during each of their third weekends. Knight‘s current multiplier (total divided by opening weekend) of 2.49 is quite a bit higher than Dead Man’s Chest‘s multiplier of 2.37 obtained through the same point during its run. Chest finished with a 3.12 multiplier so if Knight continues to slightly outperform it, then a 3.3 multiplier or higher could result, which would be more than enough to allow Batman to swoop past $500 million. Even topping Titanic‘s $600 million record breaking run is still a slight possibility, especially if the drops continue to flatten.

The Mummy 3 may have finished first on Friday with $15.4 million, but the film fell to second place on Saturday with $14.8 million, dropping 4%. The film is projected to fall 17% on Sunday to $12.3 million. This gives it an estimated opening weekend of $42.5 million, which is on par with the The Scorpion King when adjusted for inflation but below the openings of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. A strong third frame from The Dark Knight likely cut into The Mummy 3‘s potential. Still, the film should easily top $100 million, especially with minimal competition the rest of the summer.

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Domestically, the film may have disappointed, but the addition of international superstar Jet Li led the film to massive openings overseas. More >>

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Box Office Data Source: The Numbers

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‘Swing Vote’ Misfires, ‘Mamma Mia!’ Holds Well Again

<< ‘The Dark Knight’ Fends off ‘The Mummy 3′

Swing Vote was a miss with a weak $6.3 million opening, good enough for only sixth place. The Kevin Costner led comedy ultimately couldn’t overcame a weak marketing campaign and mediocre reviews. It’s been reported that Costner put up some $20 million of his own cash to help finance the film. Swing Vote will likely make its home market debut in late October just in time to coincide with the early November Presidential election.

Swing Vote

The Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly comedy Step Brothers posted a decent second weekend hold with a 47% drop to $16.3 million. Total stands at $63 million. $100 million is a good possibility, but direct competition is looming over the next two weeks.

Mamma Mia! had a strong third frame with $13.1 million representing an amazing 26% drop from last week. It’s total of $88 million is ahead of Hairspray‘s $78.9 million total through the same point. A total north of $130 million could result.

The arrival of another Brendan Fraser action-adventure film didn’t put much of a dent in Journey to the Center of the Earth. In fifth place, Journey slid just 29% for a $6.9 million weekend. After four weeks, the 3D feature has carved out $73.1 million with a $100 million final total still very much alive.

WALL-E

In seventh place, Hancock added $5.2 million falling 37%. The Will Smith starring film has grossed an excellent $216 million. Wall-E took its smallest drop to date with just a 26% slide. Its $4.7 million tally from its sixth frame ups the cume to $204.2 million, and the film will pass up Ratatouille by the end of the week.

Falling from fourth to ninth, The X-Files: I Want to Believe lost 66% of its audience with a just a $3.4 million sophomore frame. X-Files has made only $17.1 million, and will finish out below $25 million. At least the budget was relatively low so the film could show a small profit eventually. Much to the dismay of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Space Chimps was able to stay in the top ten for one more week. It dropped 37% to $2.8 million and has now eked out $22.1 million and could finish close to $30 million.

Speaking of Hellboy II, the film fell to eleventh place with $2.5 million in its fourth weekend. Total stands at $71.3 million with a $75 million final target.

The Golden Army

Next week, the stoner action comedy Pineapple Express and the female led The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 get a jump start on the weekend opening on Wednesday.

Now that The Mummy 3 failed to knock off The Dark Knight, which film do you think will finally unseat Batman? (Vote in the comments section.)

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Box Office Data Source: The Numbers

‘The Mummy 3’ $15M Friday, ‘Dark Knight’ close behind

On Friday, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor made out with $15.6 million on opening day, according to The Numbers. There wasn’t a lot of urgency to see this film on opening night so a slight rise on Saturday could result giving the film an opening weekend of about $43 million.

The Dark Knight was close in second place with $12.5 million on Friday. It will likely retain the number one position on Saturday and Sunday, but thanks to a $3 million higher Friday for The Mummy 3, Knight will finish the overall weekend in second with around $41 million and a staggering 17 day total of $392 million. That’s only down 45% from last weekend.

Swing Vote was a miss with only a $2 million opening day on the first day of August. That will translate to a $6 million first weekend and a short run in theaters. Perhaps October would have been a better release date to take advantage of the upcoming election in early November.

Check back on Sunday when I will provide full analysis of the studio weekend estimates.

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Box Office Data Source: The Numbers

‘The Mummy’ Targets ‘Dark Knight’

Brendan Fraser and Kevin Costner headline their new films The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Swing Vote this weekend with hopes of being known as the movie that took down The Dark Knight. For the The Mummy, maybe. Swing Vote doesn’t stand a chance, though.

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The latest Mummy is perhaps the summer’s first unnecessary sequel. There’s already been a spin-off, The Scorpion King, and that film’s reviews were sub-par at best, and it had weak legs at the box office. At least the main star has returned for this installment so that factor should help it some. The opening weekend tallies for The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and The Scorpion King were $43.4 million, $68.1 million, and $36.1 million respectively. All of these films debuted six to nine years ago so the franchise may not be as topical as it used to be. Those films also had far less competiton to deal with since they opened in early May / late April. Of course, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has Batman to contend with.

Rush Hour 3 encountered many of the same problems last August when opened to just $49.1 million compared to $67.4 million for Rush Hour 2. Six years had passed between Rush Hour 2 and 3 which is about the same amount of town since the last Mummy movie. Rush Hour 3‘s reviews were a franchise worst. Tomb‘s reviews are even worse at just 10% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the lowest for its franchise as well. Debuting in 3,759 theaters, Tomb should open to around $44 million.

That might be low enough for The Dark Knight to reign for a third straight week but probably not. The record for the largest third weekend ever is the first Spider-Man with $45 million. Even more amazing is that Spidey did it on the same weekend that Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones debuted. That record will be hard to beat. I’m going with about a $40 million third weekend and $391 million running total for Knight, which would be the highest total ever after three weekends.

Swing Vote is gunning for an older demographic which is often under served this time of year. This movie won’t do much to draw them in because of a weak ad campaign and weak reviews. This is targeting a group that usually pays attention to reviews so 35% positive is not going to cut it. Launching in 2,213 theaters, Swing Vote will be lucky to hit $8 million.

Swing Vote

Predictions for the weekend of August 1-3, 2008:

  1. The Mummy 3 – $44.2 million
  2. The Dark Knight – $40.1 million, -47%
  3. Step Brothers – $16.2 million, -48%
  4. Mamma Mia! – $12.2 million, -31%
  5. Swing Vote – $7.9 million
  6. Journey to the Center of the Earth – $6.3 million, -35%
  7. Hancock – $4.8 million, -42%
  8. Wall-E – $4.3 million, -33%
  9. X-Files: I Want to Believe – $3.9 million, -61%
  10. Hellboy II: The Golden Army – $2.7 million, -47%

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Box Office Data Source: The Numbers