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B.O. Weekend Tracking: 'Mummy 3' Will Likely Open with $43.5M

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Aug 02, 2008 | 7:22am EDT

The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) has met his match. Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Universal) has scored an excellent $16.5M opening day. That is stronger than the original Mummy’s $14.45M first day in 1999, but shy of the $23.38M opening day scored by The Mummy Returns in 2001. The Mummy 3 seems headed for a decent $43.5M three-day opening, slightly below industry expectations. 

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor  marks the all-time second-best opening for actor Brendan Fraser, trailing only The Mummy 2.

ALL-TIME TOP 5 BRENDAN FRASER OPENINGS

1. The Mummy Returns — $68.13M opening

2. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - $43.5M opening (estimate)

3. The Mummy — $43.36M opening

4. Journey to the Center of the Earth - $21M opening

5. George of the Jungle — $16.54M opening

And, director Rob Cohen has his all-time second-best opening, trailing only xXx.

ALL-TIME TOP 5 OPENINGS FOR ROB COHEN-DIRECTED FILMS

1. xXx - $44.5M opening

2. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - $43.5M opening (estimate)

3. The Fast & The Furious - $40.08M opening

4. Dragonheart - $15M opening

5. Stealth - $13.25M opening

Looking forward, sources at competing studios say that The Mummy 3 will likely finish in the $125M-$135M range, which would be less than the $155M domestic for the franchise starter and far less than the $202M cume for the 2001 sequel. Still, moving the film's location to China and adding international superstar Jet Li to the marquee should boost international grosses, especially in Asian markets.

Meanwhile, The Dark Knight is not slowing down much, grabbing an estimated $12.31M on its third Friday, which should translate to an estimated $41M for the three-day. That represents just a 47 percent drop from last weekend. If that number holds, The Dark Knight will reach a new cume of $392M by Monday, which makes it a virtual cinch for $450M domestic, and, when all is said and done, I am projecting that The Dark Knight  can reach $480M. That would make it the all-time No. 2 grossing movie in US history, behind only Titanic at $600M, and just ahead of Star Wars at $461M.

There has been some speculation that The Dark Knight may ultimately overtake 1997’s Titanic, but that seems like more fanboy zeal than anything else. I do not believe that any movie will ever manage that feat. The James Cameron-directed Best Picture winner was No. 1 for 15 consecutive weekends, and it was in the top five for a total of 20 three-day frames. It racked up $600M domestic, but it never generated more than $35.45M in a single weekend. Just like that over-played Celine Dion theme song, Titanic went “on and on.”

Sony’s Step Brothers, starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, is enjoying a good weekend hold. The R-rated comedy added an estimated $5.25M on its second Friday. That should add up to a healthy $15.2M three-day, enough for third-place, and a new cume of almost $62M.

Meryl Streep’s musical turn in Mamma Mia (Universal) continues to do brisk business at No. 4, scoring another $3.9M on Friday and a likely $12.67M for the three-day. The ABBA-inspired Broadway adaptation will have banked about $87.5M by Monday.

Kevin Costner’s self-produced and self-financed Swing Vote (Disney) is off to an underwhelming start with a fifth-place finish on Friday. The Academy Award winner invested $21M in this politically-themed piece of counter-programming, and the movie picked up just $2M on its opening day. In one of his classic lovable loser roles, Costner will probably reach about $6M with in the first three days in release for Swing Vote, which will likely drop it to  No. 6 for the weekend behind the estimated $6.83M estimate for the family-fueled Journey To the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros).

One other box office nugget of note. WALL-E (Disney), Andrew Stanton’s amazing animated gem from Pixar, scooped up another $1.2M or so on Friday, lifting the lonely little robot past the $200M mark.

EARLY THREE-DAY ESTIMATES

1. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Universal) - $43.5 million, $11,572 PTA, $43.5 million cume

2. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) — $41 million, $9,611 PTA, $392.08 million cume

3. Step Brothers (Sony) — $15.2 million, $4,913 PTA, $61.86 million cume

4. Mamma Mia (Universal) — $12.67 million, $4,142 PTA, $87.52 million

5. Journey To the Center of the Earth  (Warner Bros.) — $6.83 million, $2,993 PTA, $73.1 million cume

6. Swing Vote (Disney) - $6.02 million, $2,720 PTA, $6.02 million cume

7. The X-Files: I Want To Believe (20th Century Fox) — $5.09 million, $1,600 PTA, $18.73 million cume

8. Hancock (Sony) — $4.8 million, $1,728 PTA, $215.6 million cume

9. WALL-E (Disney) — $4.19 million, $1,642 PTA, $203.66 million cume

10. Space Chimps (20th Century Fox) — $3.04 million, $1,198 PTA, $22.29 million cume

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