Box office report: the $300 million Dark Knight

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Batman: an individual with swollen coffers.

As I waited patiently for my screening of the X-Files to start, I glanced around the mostly empty auditorium, and then flagged down an usher. “So,” I asked him over my $4 small drink, “What’s the big movie going to be this weekend? Step Brothers?” “No way,” he scoffed at me. “The theater across the hall showing The Dark Knight is the biggest screening room we’ve got, and it’s sold out.”

True to the anonymous usher’s comment, The Dark Knight sold a whole lot of tickets again this weekend, with a stunning second week total of $75.6 million dollars. So far, the second of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-films has raked in $314 million dollars at the US box office in only 10 days. Amongst the many records it has demolished, it has the highest 10-day opening in history, and it’s the fastest film to break $300 million in history, and it nearly passed Iron Man’s $314.9 million dollar total as the top movie of the summer. By the time you read this paragraph, it will have breezed right past Robert Downey Jr. and company.

In spite of all my negativity towards it, Will Ferrell’s new comedy Step Brothers brought home second place at the US box office, picking up a solid $30 million bones in its opening weekend. The screening I attended was doing fairly well, especially when compared to the other opener this weekend, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Chris Carter’s long-dormant franchise managed $10.2 million dollars, for a weak fourth-place finish.

Between the weekend’s two opening films, the surprise (to me) hit Mamma Mia! brought home third place, with a nice $17.8 million box office gross. The ABBA-themed musical has quietly grossed $62.7 million dollars in the US, and has topped $135 million dollars worldwide. Was I the only person caught completely by surprised by this film’s performance? Am I missing something here?

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Journey to the Center of the Earth rounds out the top five, with a fifth-place $9.4 million dollars. The movie passed $60 million in total grosses, which is its budget. Apparently the 3-D experiment has worked out well for New Line and Brendan Fraser, though I’d imagine this week’s release of The Mummy 3 will cut into Journey’s box office nut. There’s only so much Fraser need to be filled.

Hancock proves to be yet another Will Smith blockbuster. It seems that no matter how muddled the screenplay might be, Will Smith turns it into money. The sixth place film raked in $8.2 million dollars within the shadow of the Bat, and has passed the $200 million dollar barrier. Fellow superhero film Hellboy II brought in $4.9 million dollars, for a respectable eighth place.

The shine seems to be coming off Pixar’s Wall-E. While the film brought in $6.3 million dollars and latched onto seventh place in the top ten, it is earning at a pace behind that set by Cars, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo, among others. The film has still brought in $195 million dollars, but it did have a production budget of $185 million and your guess is as good as mine as to how much was spent on marketing. Silently marketed animated comedy Space Chimps staggered to a ninth-place, $4.3 million dollar take at the box office. Even after last week’s seventh-place bow, that low total has to be a disappointment for the $37 million dollar production.

Graphic novel adaptation Wanted managed to hold onto tenth place ($2.7 million dollars, $128.6 million US gross), but will definitely be departing (as may Hellboy II and/or Space Chimps, depending on the release schedule of The Midnight Meat Train and how well Space Chimps hangs onto the kiddie audience). Considering one of the upcoming releases is the fourth in the insanely popular Mummy series (if you count The Scorpion King as one of the Mummy films, as I do), Wanted will be making its exit.

The other movie to find wide release, Kevin Costner’s political comedy Swing Vote, doesn’t seem to be the sort of film to knock off The Dark Knight. Neither does The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, actually. The trailer leaves me lukewarm, at best, as it seems to be trying too hard to be… I don’t know, exciting or funny or *something*. I suppose we’ll find out, won’t we?