The Force Is With Dark Knight

Batman blockbuster moves up to third on list of all-time box office champs, per estimates; Pineapple Express enjoys smokin'-good weekend

By Joal Ryan Aug 10, 2008 10:24 PMTags
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Beware, Lord Vader.

The Dark Knight brought its overall domestic gross to $441.5 million today, per Exhibitor Relations estimates, moving the film to third among the all-time box office champs, and leaving it perhaps only a week away from trumping Star Wars for second place.

The Batman movie's Friday-Sunday take of $26 million gave the blockbuster its fourth-straight weekend box office win—a feat not accomplished since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ruled in 2003-04.

Assuming the studio estimates hold, the weekend gross moved Dark Knight up four spots on the all-time list, as the film bypassed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($423 million), Star Wars: Episode IThe Phantom Menace ($431 million), E.T. ($435 million) and Shrek 2 ($441.2 million).

If The Dark Knight maintains its current pace, the movie should have enough momentum to overtake the original Star Wars ($461 million, including rereleases) by the end of next weekend.

After Star Wars, the next box office challenge for The Dark Knight will be to break $500 million.

After that, the next box office challenge will be to break Titanic ($601 million).

And after that, it can rest.

Drilling down through the box office standings:

  • Pineapple Express ($22.4 million) bowed in second. After five days, the Seth Rogen-James Franco action-comedy, which opened Wednesday, has taken in $40.5 million against a reported $27 million budget. True, the Rogen-penned Superbad got off to an even faster start ($43.3 million in its first five days last August). But, also true, the Superbad guys didn't have to tangle with the Batman.
  • In one of the sadder tales of the summer, The X-Files: I Want to Believe ($1.2 million, per Box Office Mojo) disappeared from the Top 10 after just a two-weekend stay. To date, the $35 million movie has failed to gross even $20 million overall, and managed to sell fewer tickets than Space Chimps ($1.7 million; $25.4 million).
  • Like the new X-Files movie, Space Chimps fell out of the Top 10. Unlike the new X-Files movie, Space Chimps lasted there three weekends.
  • In its second weekend, business for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (third place, $16.1 million; $70.7 million overall) plunged 60 percent.
  • Now in its fourth weekend, Mamma Mia! (sixth place, $8.1 million; $104 million overall) hasn't seen weekend-to-weekend business dip even 40 percent.
  • Will Ferrell's and John C. Reilly's Step Brothers (fifth place, $8.9 million; $80.9 million) is also sticking around.
  • Let it be noted: The generally liked The Incredible Hulk ($287,000; $133.8 million overall, per Box Office Mojo) has made more money than the widely scorned Hulk ($132.2 million). Until you add in the foreign grosses.
  • The Philip Roth-spawned drama Elegy, starring Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz, was, screen for screen, the biggest hit of the weekend, taking in $102,441 at six theaters.

Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. The Dark Knight, $26 million
  2. Pineapple Express, $22.4 million
  3. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, $16.1 million
  4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, $10.8 million
  5. Step Brothers, $8.9 million
  6. Mamma Mia!, $8.1 million
  7. Journey to the Center of the Earth, $4.9 million
  8. Hancock, $3.3 million
  9. Swing Vote, $3.1 million
  10. WALL-E, $3 million