‘The Mummy’ can’t take Batman’s box office crown
By Patrick Luce Aug 4, 2008, 13:39 GMT
The blockbuster global Mummy franchise takes a spellbinding turn as the action shifts to Asia for the next chapter in the adventure series, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O’Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China high into the frigid Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son ...more
Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" came close, but couldn’t knock “The Dark Knight” from the top spot at the weekend box office.
Warner Bros.’ "The Dark Knight" dropped 42% in its third weekend and took in an estimated $43.8 million from 4,266. The “Batman Begins” sequel has inched even closer to $400 million in domestic ticket sales.
One reason for the film’s continued success is the broad appeal, and its ability to bring in more than Batman fans. “The Dark Knight” is on track to reach $500 million domestically – which would make it the second highest grossing film of all time after “Titanic” ($600.8 million in North America).
In Variety, Warners exec VP of distribution Jeff Goldstein stated: "It's a movie that has overperformed at every turn. To have a 42% drop in the third weekend is a tremendous hold. Everyone is going — everyone."
"Dark Knight" was co-produced and co-financed by Legendary Pictures. The film is expected to cross the $400 million mark today or Tuesday.
Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" (which finds Brendan Fraser returning to take on a new mummy after a seven-year absence) had a solid opening with $42.5 million domestically from 3,759 screens and an estimated $59.5 million from 28 territories overseas.
The film easily beat "The Dark Knight" for the No. 1 spot at the international box office. Along with Fraser, the film features Jet Li and Maria Bello (who replaced Rachel Weisz).
"Dragon Emperor" cost an estimated $145 million to bring to the screen and its domestic opening was slightly behind the original "The Mummy" ($43.4 million) and massively behind the first sequel, "The Mummy Returns" ($68.1 million). Internationally, "Dragon Emperor" opened bigger than the other two “Mummy” films combined.
In Variety, Universal prexy of distribution Nikki Rocco stated: "The decision to add another installment to this global franchise paid off in spades.”
Changing the setting to China and adding Li to the cast more than likely helped renew interest in “The Mummy” franchise.
Kevin Costner’s new political comedy "Swing Vote" had a No. 6 debut with $6.3 million from 2,213 theaters.
The film, which was financed by Costner before Disney got involved in the project, seemed to bring in the older adult crowd looking for something other than the normal summer popcorn film.
In Variety, Disney prexy of distribution Chuck Viane described the film as “a very intelligent movie that the intelligent, adult moviegoer can latch onto."
"Swing Vote" features performances from Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane, and follows a man whose vote will decide the winner of the U.S. presidential race.
Sony's R-rated comedy "Step Brothers" dropped to No. 3 over the weekend with $16.3 million from 3,094 screens. The Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly film dropped 47% and has taken in $63 million in its first 10 days.
Universal's "Mamma Mia!" kept fans dancing at the theaters with only a 26% drop and a No. 4 placing. The Meryl Streep-Amanda Seyfried musical earned an estimated $13.1 million from 3,060 screens. It has taken in $88 million since its release and is on track to earn at least $125 million domestically.
Brendan Fraser’s other adventure, New Line and Walden Media's 3-D "Journey to the Center of the Earth," continued its run at the box office with an estimated $6.9 million from 2,285 theaters. The family friendly film dropped 29%, but has earned $73.1 million in four weeks.
Disney-Pixar's "Wall-E" rolled across $200 million over the weekend with an estimated $4.7 million for a domestic total of $204.2 million in its sixth week.
20th Century Fox's "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" continued to struggle at the box office with No. 9 placing on the weekend box office and an estimated $3.4 million from 3,185 screens. The film from director Chris Carter dropped a huge 66% in its second week and has only earned $17 million in its first 10 days.
Fox has stated the film is expected to turn a profit for the studio thanks to its low production cost.
Sony Pictures Classics' "Frozen River" took in an estimated $73,322 as it opened in seven theaters in Los Angeles and New York for a per location average of $10,745. Lionsgate's horror film "Midnight Meat Train" had a weak debut with $32,000 from 102 theaters.
Miramax had another good weekend with "Brideshead Revisited" – which took in an estimated $1.2 million. The film expanded to 189 theaters for a per location average of $6,250. It has made an estimated $1.7 million in its second week.