Stiller’s War Comedy Defeats The Clone Wars


The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

The reign of Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight may finally be over as six new movies made it difficult to sustain the top spot after four weeks in residence there. Even so, yesterday it passed the unadjusted gross of George Lucas’ 1977 sci-fi classic Star Wars to become the second-highest grossing movie domestically with an astounding five-week box office gross of $471.5 million. (Star Wars‘ unadjusted gross was $461 million including a number of re-releases since its debut thirty years ago.)

It was replaced at the top by Ben Stiller’s war comedy Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks), co-starring Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., which grossed $11 million on Wednesday and Thursday, then picked up strong word-of-mouth business over the weekend with an additional $26 million, making more in five days than Stiller’s last movie The Heartbreak Kid made in its entire theatrical run.

Although The Dark Knight dropped to second place with $16.8 million this weekend, it remained just ahead of George Lucas’ latest Jedi adventure, the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros.), which opened in over 3,400 theaters (more than Tropic Thunder) but delivered a disappointing $15.5 million, an average of $4,500 per site. The poor showing might be blamed on the mostly negative reviews and feelings among the fanbase that it’s essentially a television cartoon that didn’t necessarily need to be seen in theaters.

Internationally, The Dark Knight topped the box office with $42.4 million from 7,700 theaters in 60 markets. The movie has reached $328.6 million overseas for a combined worldwide total of $800.1 million, climbing to the 19th spot on the all-time worldwide blockbuster chart.

Alexandre (The Hills Have Eyes) Aja’s latest horror film Mirrors (20th Century Fox), starring Keifer Sutherland, opened in 4th place with $11.1 million in 2,664 theaters, while Sony’s stoner comedy Pineapple Express, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, dropped from second to fifth place with $10 million in its second weekend to bring its total to $63 million.

Universal Pictures took the next two spots with their returning movies The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and the musical Mamma Mia! with $8.6 million and $6.5 million, respectively. The Brendan Fraser action flick has grossed roughly $87 million while the Meryl Streep musical has $116.4 million under its belt. It’s just a couple million behind passing last year’s Hairspray as the third-highest grossing movie musical.

“The Mummy” took second place internationally with $32.6 million from 6,853 theaters in 56 markets. It has earned a total of $196.6 million overseas for a worldwide total of $283 million.

The Warner Bros. sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 dropped to 8th place with $5.9 million and a total gross of $32.1 million, followed by the Will Ferrell-John C. Reilly comedy Step Brothers (Sony) with $5 million and a total gross of just under $91 million.

Opening in just under 700 theaters, Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona (MGM/Weinstein), starring Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, rounded out the Top 10 with $3.7 million, becoming Allen’s biggest opening movie since 2000’s Small Time Crooks as well as the second-biggest opening of his 35-year career.

Opening in 452 digital 3D capable theaters, Summit Entertainment’s G-rated animated movie Fly Me to the Moon grossed $2 million to open in 12th place, averaging $4,400 per site. Also opening moderately in 527 theaters, the Sundance pick-up Henry Poole is Here (Overture) starring Luke Wilson grossed just $800,000, averaging a pitiful $1,500 per site.

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $110 million, which is just slightly more than the Top 10 grossed in the same weekend period last year.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.