B.O. Weekend Tracking: $75M Possible for ‘Dark Knight’

There is no question about which film will be No. 1 at America’s multiplexes this weekend. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) is posting unprecedented weekday grosses with $24.5M on Monday and $20.9M Tuesday, and it will easily win the upcoming three-day. The question is, “How much of a drop will the Christopher Nolan-directed crime thriller/superhero hybrid suffer on its second weekend?”

To answer the question, let’s look at the second weekend drops for the other 11 movies that have grossed $100M so far in 2008.


1. Kung Fu Panda – 44%

2. Horton Hears A Who – 45%

3. Iron Man – 48%

4. Get Smart – 48%

5. Hancock – 49%

6. WALL-E – 49%

7. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull – 55%

8. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – 59%

9. The Incredible Hulk – 60%

10. Wanted – 61%

11. Sex and the City – 62%

Can it manage a drop of just 50 percent? That would give it a spectacular $79M weekend, and it would soar past the $300M mark in just 10 days, easily topping the previous all-time best 10-day performance of $258.36M for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I am predicting $70M-$80M as the box office records continue to fall.

Two new films roll out this Friday. The Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly R-rated comedy Step Brothers (Sony) has improved dramatically in industry tracking, and I am revising my prediction from $17M-$22M to $27M-$32M.

That would be Will Ferrell’s best R-rated opening surpassing Old School ($17.45M) and this year’s pro hoops-inspired comedy Semi-Pro ($15M). That would also best Ferrell’s previous teaming with director Adam McKay, 2004’s Anchorman, which opened to $28.41M. In fact, Step Brothers could become the second best opening of Ferrell’s career trailing only Talladega Nights ($47M).

Meanwhile, it is likely to be another tough weekend for Fox. Following up on Meet Dave’s $5.25M opening (reported $60M budget) and Space Chimps’ $7.2M opening, the studio is making a bet on a big budget sequel for the long dormant The X-Files.

I was a huge fan of the TV show, which enjoyed its ratings peak in 1998. The feature film The X-Files: Fight The Future managed an opening just over $30M in 1998 on its way to about $84M domestic. The film seemed to take some “steam” out of the TV series, and, by the time it left the airwaves in 2002, its two-hour finale finished only third in its time-slot.

How many core Under 25 moviegoers remember or even know who Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are? According to industry tracking, not enough to make I Want To Believe a hit of any significance. The best case scenario for this re-boot of The X-Files seems to be $15M-$20M on opening weekend. That would be a real disappointment.


1. The Dark Knight  (Warner Bros) – $75M

2. Step Brothers (Sony) – $31M

3. The X-Files (Fox) – $17M

4. Mamma Mia! (Universal) – $16.7M

5. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) – $7.7M

6. Hancock (Sony) – $7.5M

7. WALL-E (Disney) – $5.7M

8. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Universal) – $5.5M

9. Space Chimps (Fox) – $4.3M

10. Wanted (Universal) – $2.5M