Dark Knight Rules Over Fourth Consecutive Weekend
By John Hamann
August 10, 2008
While its totals may not be close to the $158 million The Dark Knight opened to four weekends ago, the Caped Crusader still remains the king of box office Gotham. Despite slipping to third when newcomers The Pineapple Express and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 opened on Wednesday, Chris Nolan's masterpiece stormed back, taking the crown for the fourth consecutive weekend, something that is extremely rare at today's box office. In other news, great legs are still on display for Mamma Mia!, and the third incarnation of the Mummy franchise did a faceplant in its second weekend. Who said August is boring at the box office?
Four weekends at the top of the box office is a very rare occurrence these days. The last time a movie ruled the chart for four consecutive frames was in 2003/2004, when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King earned $14.2 million in its fourth frame to stay on top. It beat out Time Burton's Big Fish by mere thousands to retain the crown, after memorable openers like My Baby's Daddy and Chasing Liberty failed to shine. The Christmas season is somewhat easier than summer to have a film stay on top for multiple weekends, as tentpole films tend to rule the Christmas season and then have little competition in the early weekends of January. In summer, especially today's summer, blockbuster after blockbuster is released, giving little time for staying power. For example, the first Spider-Man was only on top for two consecutive weekends, but still has the second biggest fourth weekend ever at $28.5 million (behind Titanic‘s $28.7 million). The Sixth Sense managed five consecutive weekends at number one in August and September of 1999, as that one earned $20 million in its fourth frame while the summer dwindled. As I said above, today's box office and movie release schedule doesn't often allow for consecutive weekends on top, which again shows the power of The Dark Knight. With Tropic Thunder and Star Wars: The Clone Wars opening next weekend, it will most likely not see a fifth consecutive weekend at the head of the pack.
The Dark Knight is our number one film again, as the caped crusader continues to show decent legs and its amazing run continues. The Dark Knight earned $26 million and was off 39% from its previous frame, when it earned $42.7 million and was off 43%. The Warner Bros. monster just missed the record for the biggest fourth weekend, as it finishes third behind Titanic's $28.7 million and Spider-Man's $28.5 million (Black Hawk Down made $28.6 million in its fourth weekend, but that was its first weekend in wide release). The Dark Knight crossed the $400 million mark last Monday, its 18th day, getting there 25 days faster than former record holder Shrek 2, which did it in 43 days. The Dark Knight has also earned over $200 million overseas (despite being out to only a handful of markets) as it drives its worldwide total towards $1 billion, something that only three other films have been able to do, Titanic ($1.84 billion worldwide), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.12 billion), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($1.07 billion). So where is The Dark Knight going to finish domestically? My current estimate has it finishing with just over $500 million on the domestic front, which will make it the second film ever to earn $500 million behind only Titanic, which finished with $600.8 million. It currently sits in third place all time, behind Titanic and Star Wars: A New Hope, which earned $461 million over several releases.