Weekend Forecast for August 1-3, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

August 1, 2008

And stay off my lawn!

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As he becomes the focus of attention of not just the two candidates (with Dennis Hopper for the Democrats and Kelsey Grammer for the Republicans) but also an eager national media, Costner's every-man schmoe becomes a symbol for all of America or some such rot. OK, maybe I'm being a bit hard on the film - this is the kind of role Costner really excels at, despite his status as box office poison. But satires are always tough sales, especially political ones. Take a look at Man of the Year, which went at this issue from the other direction (it also wasn't funny, but let's not get too far off the mark here). In spite of all these negatives, I can see it doing at least okay in terms of a Kevin Costner film, and opening to about $9 million.

The Dark Knight became the top grossing movie of 2008 on Monday, its 11th day of release, and barely broke a sweat in doing so. Coming into its third weekend with about $350 million, or about as much as Jurassic Park's total domestic box office, the superhero film is trying for not only a third straight number one position at the box office, but also a record for fastest film to $400 million. It would take a shocking performance for it to get there this weekend, but then it's been shocking us all along. And of course, it's got lots of time, as even getting there by the end of next weekend would about halve the current record of 43 days by Shrek 2. The highest ever third weekend is also at stake here, with The Dark Knight having the potential to pass Spider-Man's $45 million.

That's probably not in the cards after its more than 50% drop last weekend. While you generally expect that kind of drop for any film with as much opening hype as this one, there was thought that the incredible word-of-mouth could help it to buck that trend. That kind of support didn't materialize, but we're still looking at a massively popular film here. Its second weekend would have been fourth best of the year, and 20th in total box office for 2008. I like its chances to repeat at the top spot of the box office, with The Mummy 3 having a much greater potential to fail. Give The Dark Knight $44 million for weekend number three.


Step Brothers was a decent success for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, earning $31 million on the backs of overgrown manchild slapstick comedy (somewhere, Adam Sandler's ears are burning). It was a nice recovery for both in the comedy department after the twin disappointments of Semi-Pro and Walk Hard. It remains the number one comedy option out there this weekend, to the tune of about $17 million.

Mamma Mia! is still showing surprising strength, with about $70 million after two weekends, despite what many are calling an incompetent production. Musical fans aren't that discerning, I suppose. Look for the ABBA scourge to remain relevant with around $11 million this weekend.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe was a shocking failure, with an opening of just $10 million, hammering the nails shut on the franchise's coffin once and for all. While I was, let's say, notably bullish on its prospects, few people really expected quite the level of bombing that the former TV series was in for. It's only going to get worse for it from here, to the point where $4 million might be optimistic this weekend.

Forecast: Weekend of August 1, 2008
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 The Dark Knight 4,266 -100 43.8
2 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 3,759 New 41.5
3 Step Brothers 3,094 0 17.2
4 Mamma Mia! 3,060 +70 11.0
5 Swing Vote 2,213 New 9.3
6 Journey to the Center of the Earth 2,285 -403 6.5
7 Hancock 2,782 -527 4.7
8 The X-Files: I Want to Believe 3,185 0 4.2
9 Wall-E 2,555 -489 4.1
10 Space Chimps 2,134 -404 2.8

Continued:       1       2



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