Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Finals... (updated from yesterday)

The List.

The Dark Knight - $75.1 million. The biggest non-opening weekend of all time, by a good $4 million (of course, adjusted for inflation, Shrek 2 and Spider-Man probably sold more tickets in their second weekends). A Damn fine hold (-52%) for an incredibly popular picture. The new ten-day total is and obscene $314 million. Despite all the talk of taking down Titanic (plausible but not probable), it's still playing like a hyper-popular version of Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest. And remember, summer was pretty much over after Pirates 2 in 2006 (look out Jack Sparrow, it's Miami Vice, Snakes Of A Plane, and Lady In The Water!). But The Dark Knight still has to face The Mummy 3, The Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. So far, it's running about 15-20% ahead, so using that math, 120% of $421 million = $507 million. Poor Dark Knight, it might have to settle for being the number two grossing movie of all time. Smallest sign of peril - it's second Saturday ($28 million) was actually the third-biggest second Saturday, behind Shrek 2 and Spider-Man, despite having bigger second-Fridays then both of them. Smallest sign of uber-hope - it did more on Sunday than Friday.

Ironically, in the global market, it may have to settle for third place. Batman films have never been overseas juggernauts (as I've mentioned elsewhere, Batman lost the global crown to Indiana Jones 3 back in 1989), so Indiana Jones 4's $800 million global take could be out of reach. And, truth be told, the number one international hit of the year will likely be Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, coming out November 21st. I am looking forward to Potter 6, as it's one of my favorite books of the series. I can't wait to watch the movie with people who don't read the books, as this story contains the biggest 'Holy crap!' moment of the entire series. Still, it's too early to make any ironclad predictions about Batman quite yet.

Stepbrothers opened with $31 million. Mazel tov to Sony, who really did a solid stealth campaign on this one. Even as someone who kinda liked Semi-Pro (the director's cut especially worked better as a light Woody Harrelson drama than a wacked-out Will Ferrell comedy), the marketing for Step-Brothers was far superior in every way (aside from Hairspray, New Line Cinema couldn't open an envelope during its last two years). A clear knowledge of what the movie was about, those clever video posters, and jokes that you could actually put in the trailer (yes it was R too, but Semi-Pro's jokes were the sort of verbal vulgarity that you couldn't put in a trailer). Love live the R-rated Will Ferrell comedy. Mama Mia! grossed $17.7 million in its second weekend. Down a solid 36 % for a 10-day $62.5 million total, this one is flying past Hairspray despite some struggling during the week. Granted, I think that Hairspray is a far better film in every way, but Mama Mia is a darn good time and its success can only be a good thing for the demographics that it targeted. Nice work, Universal. And, guys, lay off Pierce Brosnan. He sounds just fine if you don't look at his over-the-top mouth movements (for songs to be recorded and dubbed in) that were probably the fault of bad direction. On the soundtrack, he sounds just fine. He just looks goofy onscreen.

The X-Files: I Want To Believe: $10.0 million. It was like Serenity, only mediocre! I saw it Friday morning, and unless they get more money, get an R rating, and bring in Martin Campbell to revitalize the franchise, I'll be waiting till BluRay next time. It's not a ghastly movie, just a very cheap-looking, slow and mediocre one (it does have one great visual scene which will remind people of Brian DePalma). Anyway, only the die-hards came out for this one, and a pox on Fox for opening this on the same weekend as the Comic Con. For a movie this geek-entrenched, that was suicide. Waiting till next weekend and letting the cast a crew do a bit for the crowd this weekend could have given you an extra $5 million (of course, making a better movie wouldn't have hurt, but I digress). Rest in Peace, beloved television show. Burn in hell, dumbed-down overly on-the-nose movies that make the show look bad (Fight The Future, I'm talking about you too). Fun fact (minor spoiler) - at the end of the film, when a surprise cameo appears, I laughed to myself in realization that he/she was the only person who could cameo in this film because every other major supporting character on the show has been killed off.

Other bits -

Journey To The Center Of The Earth is holding incredibly, having dropped a mere 21% in weekend three. This $45 million production has already crossed $60 million. This one could theoretically make it to $90 million. Hancock has passed the $200 million mark, Wall-E will get there next weekend. Poor Hellboy II looks to stuggle to get to $80 million. A damn shame as this was one of the best films of the summer. Wanted looks to die at $135 million just as I figured (same situation as the equally terrible Tomb Raider), and Get Smart will top at $130 million (it cost $80 million, but a lot of that apparently was paid for by product plugs and tie-ins). Sex And The City has crossed $150 million, Prince Caspian has crossed $140 million (and $300 million globally), The Incredible Hulk has finally equaled the $132 million of Ang Lee's Hulk (sigh). Space Chimps looks to close out at $25 million (which would amusingly put it in the upper-wrung of bargain basement cartoons).

More wrongheaded predictions on Thursday night as The Mummy 3 looks to somehow measure up to its predecessor's shattering $69 million opening seven years ago (it was the mega-opening that started the trend of mega-openings).

Scott Mendelson

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