B.O. Analysis, Sept. 1: ‘Tropic Thunder’ Wins with $14.2M; ‘Dark Knight’ Tops $500M

Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) has clinched another box office crown, becoming only the sixth R-rated movie since 2000 to win three straight weekends. The movie satire scored an excellent $11.5M third weekend, and it should finish the four-day Labor Day weekend with an estimated $14.2M for a new cume of $86.5M. The only other R-rated movies to pull off a hat trick of weekend wins in the past eight years were The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Hannibal (2001), American Pie 2 (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001) and The Passion of the Christ (2002). Even a box office phenomenon like 300 only managed back-to-back three-day victories.

As I forecasted on Friday, Babylon A.D. (Fox) finishes at No. 2, although it will wrap the long Labor Day weekend with just $12M, about 8 percent softer than the $13.1M I originally projected. This concludes a very tough summer for Fox. After scoring a nice hit for What Happens in Vegas ($80M) and salvaging a $65M gross from M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening, the studio has released, in succession, Meet Dave ($11.6M), Space Chimps ($28.5M), The X-Files: I Want To Believe ($20.75M), Mirrors ($25.5M), The Rocker ($5M) and now the disappointing Babylon A.D.. The studio released more movies than any of the big six studios this summer (eight), but they finish last in summer box office with about $250M.

The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) is spending its seventh consecutive weekend in the top five, and, as I first reported Friday, The Dark Knight has soared past the $500M barrier sometime on Sunday. The three-day for the mega-hit is about $8.75M according to WB, and the movie will finish the four-day with a very strong $11.3M. By Tuesday morning, the Caped Crusader will be at about $505M domestic. I am now targeting $525M-$530M as a final domestic cume.

Sony’s House Bunny is No. 4 for the long weekend with about $10.7M and a new cume of $30.25M, followed by 5th-place Traitor (Overture) which will finish the frame with $10M, giving it $11.5M since opening on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Universal’s sing-a-long with Mamma Mia is a huge success. Last weekend, the movie musical generated $4.3M. Add the lyrics at the bottom of the screen and, presto, the ABBA-inspired picture increases by a about 2 percent for $4.41M this weekend. The movie should perform exceedingly well on Monday, reaching a 4-day of about $5.8M for a new cume of $132.9M. That makes it the third biggest grossing musical in modern box office history trailing only Grease ($188M) and Chicago ($131.5M).

Bad news for the maestros of the movie spoof, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. After big box office successes like Scary Movies, Epic MovieDate Movie and Meet the SpartansDisaster Movie (Lionsgate) has bombed with a mere $7M for 4 days. MGM has also flunked with its new wide release College. With a marginal cast of TV talent, the comedy managed only $2.55M over the long weekend for just a $1,200 Per Theatre Average. Finally, Sundance Film Festival favorite Hamlet 2 (Focus) failed in its expansion to 1,597 locations with a 4-day take of just $2.15M.


1. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $14.2M, $4,089 PTA, $86.53M

2. NEW – Babylon A.D. (Fox) – $12M, $3,540 PTA, $12M cume

3. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) – $11.3M, $4,109 PTA, $504.97M cume

4. House Bunny (Sony) – $10.7M, $3,943 PTA, $30.25M cume

5. NEW – Traitor (Overture) – $10M, $4,869 PTA, $11.5M cume

6. Death Race (Universal) – $8.1M, $3,191 PTA, $24.94M cume

7. NEW – Disaster Movie  (Lionsgate) – $7M, $2,650 PTA, $7M cume

9. Mamma Mia (Universal) – $5.8M, $3,043 PTA, $132.89M cume

8. Pineapple Express (Sony) – $4.3M, $2,101 PTA, $80.68M cume

10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) – $4M, $1,637 PTA, $30.9M cume

11. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Weinstein/MGM) – $3.77M, $5,450 PTA, $13.55M cume

12. Mirrors (Fox) – $3.44M, $1,890 PTA, $25.5M cume

*NEW – College (MGM) – $2.55M, $1,201 PTA, $2.55M cume

*Hamlet 2 (Focus) – $2.15M, $1,346 PTA, $3.18M cume