weekend box office: will Batman sink the ‘Titanic’?

After another record-breaking weekend, lots of folks are wondering, Will The Dark Knight surpass Titanic as the money-makingest movie ever? Here’s what happened this weekend:

1. The Dark Knight: $75.6 million (dropping 52% in its second week, but still: jeez)
2. Step Brothers: $30 million
3. Mamma Mia!: $17.8 million (dropping 36% in its second week)
4. The X-Files: I Want to Believe: $10.2 million
5. Journey to the Center of the Earth: $9.4 million
As io9 noted, Dark Knight did this well — the biggest second weekend ever, beating out Shrek 2’s second-weekend take of $72 million — “even with an estimated 125-140 thousand of the world’s fans quarantined in San Diego for the weekend,” at Comic Con. The film’s cumulative take so far is $314 million, the fastest a movie has ever broken the $300-million mark: 10 days. Far behind in second place is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: it took 16 days to break $300 million, and had made “only” $258 million in it first 10 days.

And it’s not just in the U.S. that the film is doing so well: Britain had a record-breaking weekend at its box offices, too, thanks in part to Dark Knight, which just opened there. And it’s not just Dark Knight that audiences are flocking to, and probably flocking to more than once: Mamma Mia! also continues to do extraordinarily well — a drop of only 36 percent in a second weekend is a huge thumbs-up from the public.

Also happening this past week (counting, in some cases, midweek ticket sales, not just the weekend’s):

Hancock passed $200 million

Sex and the City: The Movie passed $150 million

Wanted passed $125 million

And next week Get Smart will edge past $125 million.

Money is tight and movies are not cheap, but they’re still one of the cheaper things you can do to treat yourself… like if you’re not getting a vacation this year, or if you’ve actually managed to get a break from work but can’t afford to actually travel anywhere. Or if you’re just trying to forget your troubles for a while. It’s hard to imagine that Dark Knight, which is so bitter and grim, is serving as escapism for anyone, but maybe it is.

Indie jones: Even with Dark Knight’s amazing numbers, the best per-screen average of the week went to the tiny documentary Man on Wire, which earned $24,000 on each of its two screens; Dark Knight’s per-screen was $17,322. And other per-screens were quite impressive this weekend, too, suggesting that absolutely everyone wanted to get out to the movies, whether they were urban hipsters who never see anything not subtitled or suburban mall rats who want to see dick jokes and stuff blowing up:

1. Man on Wire: $24,000 on each of its 2 screens
2. Dark Knight: $17,322 (4,366 venues, multiple screens at many venues)
3. Transsiberian: $13,250 (2 screens)
4. Brideshead Revisited: $10,600 (33 screens)
5. Step Brothers: $9,696 (3,094 venues, more screens)
6. American Teen: $8,560 (5 screens)

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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Mon, Jul 28, 2008 4:29pm

When adjusted for inflation? I doubt it. TDK’s number’s are being boosted by the weakness of the dollar and the corresponding increase in ticket prices (~$10 in suburbans and malls now, more in cities), and also by the fact that IMAX theaters can charge a premium even above that.