Monday, July 28, 2008

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Dark Knight Holds Court

The truth is out there and it can be found in THE DARK KNIGHT apparently. The geeks have spoken and they have shunned THE X-FILES in favour of their new leader, Batman. It half pains me to see how dismal the returns for THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE actually were. On the one hand, I wonder where all the X-philes were but on the other hand, I guess they were just avoiding this incredibly disappointing return. Even the musical and stupid comedy followers were more loyal than the X-philes. The film will go on to recoup its $30 million budget but a $10 million take essentially ensures that this is the last we will see of Mulder & Scully. I for one will miss you.

THE DARK KNIGHT continues to shatter records as it pulls in another $75 million. It is now just shy of IRON MAN’s $315 million to take the title of 2008’s biggest film. No other film came close to matching Batman’s success and there is now even talk that THE DARK KNIGHT could go on to become the greatest domestic blockbuster of all time. It would have to beat TITANIC’s $600 million take to do so but as it only took 10 days to pass the $300 million mark, it is certainly the first film in years to pose a viable threat. At the very least, it should go on to take the runner up spot, ahead of the original STAR WARS.

Opening in second place is the new Will Ferrell pic, STEP BROTHERS. Ferrell has reclaimed his king of comedy crown after it was in jeopardy of being taken from him after this spring’s disappointing SEMI-PRO. The $30 million take doesn’t match the previous opening weekends for summer comedies like GET SMART or YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN but it surpassed negative reviews to take the number two spot, which is the best anyone could have hoped for.

Many titles in the Top 10 held on strongly while a number of art house films opened to promising titles. MAMMA MIA! saw a minimal decline, putting in a position to best last year’s HAIRSPRAY. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D continues to benefit from strong word of mouth and should help usher in next week’s other Brandon Fraser movie, THE MUMMY 3. And Pixar’s WALL-E may no longer be on course to be one of the top three Pixar successes but as it rounds the $200 million mark, it should definitely surpass last year’s RATATOUILLE.

On the art house front, the steamy BRIDESHEAD REVISITED debuted on 33 screens to a per screen average of $10K. The film is expanding aggressively in the next couple of weeks. The critically acclaimed documentary, MAN ON WIRE, opened on a mere 2 screens and took in $24K per screen. And French import, TELL NO ONE, continues to expand strongly, taking in almost $6K per screen in its fourth week. Last but not least, this year’s documentary winner at Sundance, AMERICAN TEEN, pulled in $8.5K per screen but it remains to be seen whether the apathetic teens the film portrays will overcome their apathy to make their way to the theatres as it expands.

NEXT WEEK: THE MUMMY 3 is the first reasonable challenge to THE DARK KNIGHT. Mind you, I guess Kevin Costner could swing the vote his way with his election comedy, SWING VOTE.

Source: Box Office Mojo

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