Thunder Tops, Knight Wins Wars

The big-budget and very well-reviewed action-comedy “Tropic Thunder” finally pushed “The Dark Knight” out of the top spot with a $26 million Friday-Sunday gross and a $37 million five-day total.

The total was solid but not impressive, falling right in between the performance of recent R-rated comedies “Pineapple Express” and “Step Brothers”. Yet both those films cost significantly less to produce than the $100+ million budget ‘Thunder’ which will need good word-of-mouth and overseas revenues to cover its expense.

The big news though this weekend was Batman defeating George Lucas on two different counts. Coming in at #2 with $16.8 million, “The Dark Knight” beat the widely panned CG-animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” which came in at #3 with a decent $15.5 million.

The ‘Knight’ also overtook the original 1977 “Star Wars” on the all time list with its $471.5 million total eclipsing the entire theatrical and re-release run tally of $461 million earned by the original “Star Wars”. “Knight” now stands at #2 on the all time domestic box-office grossing list behind only “Titanic”.

The Kiefer Sutherland horror flick “Mirrors” came in fourth with a better than expected $11.1 million. Woody Allen’s rom-com “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” opened on about 20% of the screens the other newcomers did this week, yet still managed tenth place with $3.7 million and the second best per theatre gross of the Top 20 with $5,361 per screen. The 3D flick “Fly Me to the Moon” scored little buzz with just $2 million.

On the returning front, stoner action comedy “Pineapple Express” fell a rather large 57% indicating it may not have the legs of other Apatow efforts. Most others fell along expected lines with both “Mamma Mia” and “The Dark Knight” again holding the strongest.