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Will Pineapple Defeat Batman?

August 6th, 2008

Like last week, this week we have two more new wide releases, and like last week, The Dark Knight has a shot at retaining its crown. Also of note, the two new releases are coming out tonight because the Olympics are starting on Friday and they want to avoid going up against the Olympic opening ceremonies... Wait... People watch the Olympic opening ceremonies?

The Pineapple Express is the latest release from the Judd Apatow sphere of cinema. Not only does it star Seth Rogen, it was co-written and co-produced by Rogen and Apatow. The film is an action / comedy / chase movie / buddy movie / stoner comedy, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the film packs a lot into its nearly 2-hour running time. On the other hand, not everything works. To be fair, the film works more than it doesn't, and fans of Apatow's style of cinema should be pleased. As for the film's box office chances, it is opening in just over 3,000 theaters, which is more than expected, while it has a shot at earning $10,000 per theater over the weekend. That's perhaps a little too generous, but it could earn $14 million over the next two days, and $28 million over the weekend and $42 million in total. Granted, I'm a little more bullish than most, but not outrageously so.

As we have mentioned elsewhere, The Dark Knight broke the record for fastest to $400 million. Broke it? It smashed it, reaching that mark in just 18 days compared to 43 days by the previous record holder, Shrek 2. To put this into perspective, it took Shrek 2 18 days to reach $300 million while the previous record holder took 16 days to reach that mark. In effect, The Dark Knight has nearly lapped the competition. This weekend it could pull in another $25 million, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. This does put it within striking distance of The Pineapple Express, which means it could be the first film in quite a while to come out on top for four weeks in a row. It would also give the film more than $440 million in total and put it on pace for $500 million. On the other hand, as a reader pointed out, it could take overtake Titanic, but only if it is re-released in time for the Oscar race later this year. This is not out of the question, so we will have to wait and see.

Next up is The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which nearly topped The Dark Knight last weekend. However, the midweek numbers are not entirely strong and a 50% drop-off is nearly ensured while a collapse of more than 60% is not out of the question, especially given the film's reviews. This gives the film a high range of just over $20 million, and a low range of just under $16 million. The closer it can get to the high end, the more likely it will reach $100 million in total. However, $18 million is the most likely scenario, which could be enough to squeeze into 9 digits, especially if the studio gives it a little boost for the prestige. This will still be a lot lower than its two predecessors made, but early international numbers suggest it will have no difficulty earning a profit.

The second wide release of the week is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, which is a sequel to the 2005 midlevel hit. I'm not even sure calling it a midlevel hit is accurate, and I'm still a little leery about this film's box office chances. On the negative side, its reviews are lower than the first film's and it is opening on a Wednesday, but even so the 3-day opening weekend should be higher. Best case scenario has the movie making just over $10 million over the next two days and just under $20 million over the weekend, which could put it into third place. However, $8 million on Wednesday and Thursday and $15 million over the weekend is more likely, but still a strong start.

Finally, we get to Mamma Mia! and Step Brothers, who will be battling for fifth place. The former has the edge and should earn just over $9 million, while the latter should pull in just under $9 million. Additional note, there's little doubt that Mamma Mia! will cross $100 million over the weekend while Step Brothers might come close to that mark, eventually.


Filed under: The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia!, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Step Brothers, The Pineapple Express, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2