‘The Dark Knight’ Leads Warner Bros to Almost 1B in Summer Sales

The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) will soar past $500M sometime on Sunday, and will have banked about $505M by Tuesday morning. With Sex and the City at $152.44M and Get Smart reaching $128.29M, Warner Bros is the No. 1 studio for the summer of 2008 with a monstrous $995.42M by the end of the long Labor Day weekend. The studio also got help from Journey to the Center of the Earth, which has generated an impressive $93M or so.

My measure here is to take the grosses for all movies released from May 2 through this Friday (8/29) and add projected Labor Day weekend numbers. Based on that standard, Paramount/Dreamworks is a very strong No. 2 with an estimated $964.59M, about $30M behind WB. The Melrose gang rode back-to-back $300M grossing movies–Iron Man ($317.57M) and Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull ($315.33M)–followed by the Dreamworks animated smash Kung Fu Panda ($212.95). Include the $86.53M that Tropic Thunder will reached by end of business on Labor Day, and you have got a very impressive performance during Hollywood’s most lucrative season.

Universal is third among the big 6 with $651M or so. The Incredible HulkWanted and Mamma Mia all have topped $130M, and The Mummy 3 will be just shy of $100M by Tuesday. Sony climbed on Will Smith‘s back for a $226M ride with Hancock, then got excellent performances from its string of comedies You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (just under $100M), Step Brothers (bearing down on $100M) and August offerings Pineapple Express and The House Bunny. The estimated total for Sony by the end of the long weekend will be $580.5M, which makes them No. 4.

Disney is next with just three films and $374M domestic. WALL-E is just over $216M of that take and although Prince Caspian disappointed, it still accounted for $140M+. On the other hand, Fox released eight movies, failing to top $100M with any of them. The summer started in a promising fashion with What Happens In Vegas ($80.25M), and they even salvaged a $65M ggross from M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening. With Fox’s next five movies though, starting with Meet Dave ($11.66M) and ending with The Rocker (which should be in the $7M range by Tuesday), the studio’s average domestic cume has been just $18.5M or so, and unfortunately, Babylon A.D. will not stop Fox’s cold streak. The studio will finish the summer with only an estimated $250M in US sales.