B.O. Analysis, Aug. 17: ‘Tropic Thunder’ Knocks ‘Dark Knight’ Off the Throne

The Dreamworks/Paramount comedy Tropic Thunder received a nice 17 percent bump on from Friday’s $8.2M and should finish the weekend with about $26M according to studio estimates. That means that the Ben Stiller-directed movie satire has actually scored a better three-day than last weekend’s R-rated Pineapple Express (Sony), which generated $23.24M Friday-thru-Sunday.

There was clearly some concern after Thunder opened with $6.5M Wednesday and dipped to $4.5M on Friday, far behind Pineapple’s $12M Wednesday and $6M Thursday, but the picture recovered nicely over the traditional three-day. It seems clear now that the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy was helped by getting a jump on the Beijing Olympics by two days, and the Under 25’s that rushed to see the movie are not traditional Olympics fans anyway.

The more sophisticated Tropic Thunder, with excellent reviews, was definitely competing more directly with NBC’s Olympics coverage. Thunder reached $37M for five-days despite competing with Michael Phelps’ history-making 8 gold medal performance, Nastia Luken and Shawn Johnson finishing 1-2 in the women’s gymnastics all around and other marquee events like the 100 meter dash won by Ussain Bolt of Jamaica in world record time on Saturday. With only a week of the Olympics to go and very light competition on the release schedule over the next month, Tropic Thunder should easily top $100M while Pineapple Express seems more likely to stall out around $70M-$75M.

Mega-hit The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) was No. 2 for the weekend adding an estimated $16.79M according to Warner Bros. That was stronger than fellow Warner Bros release Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which dropped over 18 percent on Saturday, and will wrap the weekend with just $15.5M. It appears that the LucasFilm animated film will struggle to reach $40M domestic.

R-rated horror film Mirrors (Fox) played better than expected after a $4.25M Friday. The movie was essentially flat day-over-day and should have $11.12M banked by Monday morning. That makes it the fifth-best horror opening of 2008, following The Strangers, Prom NightThe Eye and One Missed Call.

At No. 5 is the aforementioned Pineapple Express, which tailed off a dramatic 57 percent to $10M. Two other new wide releases struggled. Fly Me To the Moon, the animated 3D family film from Summit, was unable to grab as many 3D locations as they had hoped and scored a $2M opening weekend. Meanwhile Overture’s Henry Poole Is Here starring Luke Wilson managed just $800,000 at 527 locations.


1. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $26M, $7,833 PTA, $37.03M cume

2. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) – $16.79M, $4,676 PTA, $471.49M cume

3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) – $15.5M, $4,491 PTA, $15.5M cume

4. Mirrors (Fox) – $11.12M, $4,176 PTA, $11.12M cume

5. Pineapple Express (Sony) – $10M, $3,255 PTA, $62.93M cume

6. The Mummy 3 (Universal) – $8.6M, $2,599 PTA, $86.64M cume

7. Mamma Mia (Universal) – $6.49M, $2,345 PTA, $116.41M cume

8. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) – $5.93M, $2,184 PTA, $32.14M cume

9. Step Brothers (Sony) – $5M, $1,888 PTA, $90.88M cume

10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Weinstein) – $3.71M, $5,361 PTA, $3.71M cume

*Fly Me To the Moon 3D (Summit) – $2M, $4,424, $2M cume

*Henry Poole is Here (Overture) – $800,000, $1,518 PTA, $800,000 cume