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Studio Weekend Box Office: 'The Dark Knight Rises' Wins the Gold Vs. New Competition UPDATED TOP TEN ANALYSIS

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
August 5, 2012 12:43 PM
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Kate Beckinsale in 'Total Recall'

Nothing could touch Chris Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" at the box office this weekend. Grosses for the top wide releases came in at about below 27% of the same weekend last year, mostly due the ongoing impact of the Olympics. "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" debuted that weekend, with a weekend gross of $55 million, more than double that of this weekend’s top new film "Total Recall."   

1. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warner Brothers) - Week 3  (last weekend - #1)

$36,440,000 in 4,242 theaters (-162); PSA (per screen average): $8,590,000; Change from last weekend: -41%; Cumulative: $354,638,000

The good news for Nolan's latest is that it should remain #1 for a third straight weekend, and that the drop from the second frame will be less than "The Dark Knight" on its third weekend in 2008 (-43%). And beating the top new opening by more than $10 million further attests to dominance in a still Olympic-affected market.

"The Dark Knight" was also #1 for its third weekend - coming in at $42,000,000 - beating a strong challenge from "The Mummy: Tomb of the Emperor," which actually was the top-grosser on its opening day heading toward a $40 million three-day total and a strong #2. 

Prospects: As has been clear from the start, "The Dark Knight Rises" will not equal the last film's eventual total ($533 million US/Canada in 2008, which would be even higher at today's ticket prices). But it is headed for more than $400 million, and much more in the rest of the world. That it won't surpass "The Dark Knight" doesn't mean that this still isn't a major success.

That said, it is unlikely to have a fourth weekend at #1 (unlike “The Dark Knight”), with “The Bourne Legacy” on tap for next Friday.

2. TOTAL RECALL (Sony) - NEW (Metacritic score: 44)

$26,000,000 in 3,601 theaters; PSA: $7,220,000; Cumulative: $26,000,000

The third Sony high-budget sequels/remake this summer, "Total Recall" so far is grossing within the studio's own muted expectations, but is not carrying its weight domestically considering a reported $125-million budget. The original Paul Verhoeven/Arnold Schwarzenegger 1990 hit, which at $65 million was of the costliest films of its year, opened to about $25 million, which is equal to just under $50 million at 2012 ticket prices. It went on to gross $119 million in the US/Canada, then another $141 million worldwide. 

The 1990 film had several advantages the remake didn't: a global action star who was a huge draw, working in a genre that was evolving into the high-end, high-concept special-effects driven area that is now commonplace. Plus, it wasn't a remake of a highly regarded original. And it didn't have to open against the Olympics, which clearly is continuing to depress grosses this weekend.

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