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Thunder Rumbles to the Top

August 18th, 2008

We finally had a new box office champion last weekend, as Tropic Thunder earned top spot and dethrowned The Dark Knight. Additionally, overall box office receipts of $124 million were stronger than they have been in a few weeks. That's 3.5% higher than last weekend, but sadly just over 4% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2008 is still behind 2007, but by less than a percent, $6.34 billion to $6.37 billion.

Tropic Thunder opened a little weaker than expected on Wednesday, but it kicked into gear once the weekend started and made $25.81 million Friday-Sunday, for $36.85 million after five. Given the film's strength as the weekend progressed, its reviews, and the lack of marquee competition, it could show considerable legs over the coming weeks. In fact, $100 million is not out of the question, but it is also a little too early to make such a bold prediction. However, by this time next week, we should have a much better idea on where the film will end its run.

The Dark Knight matched expectations nearly perfectly with $16.38 million over the weekend, which gives it a total of $471.08 million after 31 days of release. This puts it into second place on the All-Time Chart, just ahead of Star Wars: A New Hope. At this pace, $500 million domestically is all but guaranteed. In fact, I can't think of a rational reason why it wouldn't reach $500 million. Additionally, the film already has $800 million worldwide, putting it in the top twenty on that chart, but we will get into more detail on its international run on Wednesday.

It was a bad weekend for the Star Wars franchise at the box office. First A New Hope gets knocked out of second place on the All-Time Chart, then The Clone Wars fails to open in second place over the weekend. That said, its opening box office of $14.61 million is twice what it cost to make, and there's little doubt that it will show a profit by the time it reaches the home market, if not sooner.

Moving down the chart, Mirrors opened in fourth place, earning $11.16 million, which was on the high end of Thursday's prediction. Given the film's reviews and its genre, it likely won't last in theaters long, but it should still top original expectations, if just by a little bit.

The final film in the top five was The Pineapple Express at $9.81 million over the weekend for a total of $62.74 million after 12 days of release. The film fell quite a bit more than expected, which puts $100 million out of reach. That said, it has already made twice as much as it cost to make, which means it has already paid back its production budget and it is working on its P&A budget. Profitability is all but assured.

On final film managed to open in the top ten as Vicky Cristina Barcelona earned $3.76 million over the weekend, landing in tenth place in the process. This was the best opening for a Woody Allen movie since Small Time Crooks, both in terms of raw dollars and placement on the charts.

Moving onto the sophomore class, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 fell faster than its predecessor did, down 46% to $5.79 million. However, it should have no trouble topping the original's final box office number of $39.05 million. In fact, it could make it there by this time next week.

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Filed under: The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, The Pineapple Express, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Mirrors, Vicky Cristina Barcelona