Dark Knight Rules Over Fourth Consecutive Weekend
By John Hamann
August 10, 2008
Our number two movie is the stoner action flick, The Pineapple Express, from the current king of comedy, producer Judd Apatow. The Pineapple Express, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, opened powerfully on Wednesday with $12.1 million. It was at that point we thought The Dark Knight's days on top of the weekend chart were over. However, on Thursday, the comedy fell 50% to $6 million, and on Friday couldn't get it back up (blame the pot), as it earned $7.8 million. Its weekend estimate (Friday-to-Sunday) came in at $22.4 million, giving it a five-day cume of $40.5 million. Despite not finishing in top spot, the five-day opening is a big win for Apatow and distributor Sony, as the production cost for Pineapple came in at only $25 million (source: IMDb), and whenever a film can outgross its production budget over opening weekend, it's a BIG WIN for the studio.
The Pineapple Express is somewhat different than the usual for producer Apatow, as this is his first semi-action flick, and his first Wednesday opening, but it does continue a long line of successes for the current King of Comedy. While the three-day total resembles The 40 Year-Old Virgin's $21.4 million opening, the five-day number is similar to where Knocked Up and Superbad were after their first five days. Knocked Up opened to $30.7 million over a normal weekend in June last year, and had earned $39.2 million after five days. Superbad, also a mid-August release, opened to $33 million and had accumulated $43.3 million after five days. Simply put, this is not a good or bad score for The Pineapple Express - it's right in the usual wheelhouse for this comedy team.
Reviews for Pineapple were much like the opening weekend take, neither really good or really bad. Of the 137 reviewers that took this one in, 69% gave it a positive score, and I think it would have been higher if marijuana was more accepted in the US. Community members of RottenTomatoes have it at 84% fresh, which means that legs may follow this one. The biggest lesson learned from The Pineapple Express is that the stoner comedy seems to be one of the most front-loaded genres at the movies today. Harold and Kumar never beat their opening day grosses (in both instances), and both films left theatres quickly. We'll have to wait and see if the same thing happens to The Pineapple Express.
Finishing third is The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, after finishing within $2.2 million and almost dethroning The Dark Knight last weekend. The difference this weekend is almost $10 million, as Tomb of the Dragon Emperor earned $16.1 million and fell a hurtful 60%. It will be a close race now to $100 million for this incarnation of The Mummy, as it currently sits with $70.7 million, but has already grossed more than that overseas, so this one won't hurt Universal too much, despite the bloated $145 million budget.
Fourth spot goes to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, a new favorite of mine in the unnecessary sequel department, and the "I just don't get it" department (the pants travel?). Whatever the case, much like The Pineapple Express, Pants 2 enjoyed its biggest success prior to the meat of the weekend. It earned $5.7 million on Wednesday, as teen girls made the opening day the biggest of its run. It sunk to $3.2 million on Thursday, and only bounced back to $3.9 million on Friday. It ended the weekend with a Friday-to-Sunday take of $10.8 million and a five-day total of $19.7 million. The first Traveling Pants movie earned $9.8 million over its opening weekend, so this has to be considered a success for the folks at Warner Bros. The original finished its run just below $40 million (that screams for a sequel, eh?), and this one should have no problem outgrossing the original.