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Dark Knight Continues its Record Breaking Run

July 29th, 2008

The Dark Knight added a few more records to its impressive list of accomplishments, but it wasn't enough to prevent the overall box office from suffering, as it was down to $181 million over the weekend. That represents a stunning 31% drop-off from last weekend. However, since last weekend was the largest weekend on record, this was not surprising. What was a little surprising was the year-to-year decline; granted, it was down less than 2% from the same weekend last year, but that's still disappointing. As for the year-to-date numbers, strong midweek numbers helped push 2008 into the lead, barely, with 2008 earning $5.68 billion to $5.67 billion for 2007.

More records fell this weekend, or in one case, just before the weekend. The Dark Knight had the highest grossing opening week ever at $238.62 million, which demolished Dead Man's Chest's record of $196.02 million. In fact, it beat that total after just 5 days. Over the weekend, the film made $75.17 million, which matched Thursday's prediction perfectly and broke Shrek 2's record for the best sophomore weekend ever by $3 million. Additionally, by Sunday it had reached $300 million, doing so in just 10 days and now has $313.78 million. The Dark Knight is now the 23rd biggest hit of all time and has a shot at reaching $400 million by this time next week. I'm not saying it will, but it has a shot. How much will it earn in total? I'm not sure exactly, but I would be at least mildly surprised if it did not pass A New Hope in the end and there's at least an outside shot at $500 million domestically.

Step Brothers beat expectations by a little bit as it opened with $30.94 million. Compared to other Will Ferrell films, this is way below Talladega Nights, but this is not surprising as very few analysts were predicting Step Brothers would match that movie's opening, even thought it was the re-teaming of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. On the other hand, it was better than Anchorman and was close to Blades of Glory. Despite mixed reviews the film still has a shot at $100 million domestically. However, it will have little to no drawing power internationally.

Mamma Mia! surprised over the weekend by declining a mere 36% to $17.75 million for a total of $62.60 million after two. This is better than Hairspray managed during its second weekend of release, and it makes $100 million nearly guaranteed while $125 million isn't out of the question.

On the other hand, X-Files: I Want To Believe struggled, and missed even the low end of expectations by a large margin with just $10.02 million. Adding in very weak reviews, and there's little chance that this film will last in theaters long. The only good news is the price-tag, which was reported at just under $30 million. Additionally, increased home market sales of the TV series could help recoup costs fast enough to make the studio happy, but there's almost no shot of another movie at this point.

Both Journey to the Center of the Earth and Hancock beat expectations over the weekend, but as expected, Journey to the Center of the Earth was the stronger film. That movie added $9.72 million for a total of $60.49 million after three. It is still unlikely that it will reach $100 million in total, but it should come closer than it was originally expected to.

As for Hancock, it made $8.31 million over the weekend for a total of $206.48 million, making it the fifth $200 million hit of the year. WALL-E should join it there by this time next week.

Moving onto the sophomore class, there was only one film to not reach the top five in its second weekend of release this past weekend, and that was Space Chimps. The film did hang on well, but its weekend haul of $4.54 million and two-week total of $16.17 million is too little, too late.

One final note, Meet Dave set the record for largest theater count drop at a stunning 2,523. This was nearly 200 more than The Seekers, and that film started in more than 100 more theaters. Meet Dave is doing better internationally, but not by enough to matter at this point.

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Filed under: The Dark Knight, Hancock, Mamma Mia!, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Step Brothers, Space Chimps, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Meet Dave