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SUNDAY AM: Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight continues to power drive the North American box office and grossed a whopping $23.2 million Friday and $28.2 million Saturday from 4,366 theaters. That’s down only 65% and 41% respectively from its record-smashing debut a week ago. With a $75.6 million weekend, down only 52% from the best-ever Fri-Sat-Sun, the Christian Bale-Heath Ledger actioner directed by Chris Nolan broke the record not just for the best first week of all time, but also the biggest 2nd weekend of all time. The PG-13 pic will make $314.2M in just 10 days, the fastest ever (beating Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest which did it is 16 days). All anybody can do at the studios is keep repeating the word, “Amazing”. And it is. There are even whispers starting whether Dark Knight can beat the incredible worldwide numbers posted by the all-time $1.8 billion benchmark of Titanic. “It can be the first movie that has a real shot,” one rival studio bigwig told me cautiously. Because not only do people like the movie, but it’s getting incredible repeat business. Even occasional moviegoers are curious to see what all the fuss is about.

Once again Sony Pictures is able to open a low-brow comedy big at the box office — this time the Judd Apatow-produced Step Brothers from the Talledega Nights team. The Adam McKay-directed reunion of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly made $11.9 million Friday and $10 million Saturday in 3,094 venues for 2nd place and a serious $30M this weekend. The opening weekend audience was 54% male/46% female and 66% was under 25. The film, financed by Relativity Media, was made for about $65M.

No. 3 was Universal’s Mamma Mia! which only fell 44% from its debut a week ago to earn $5.5M Friday and $6.5M Saturday from 2,989 runs. With $17.8M FSS, down just 36% from its opener, it had one of the best second week (non-expansion) holds for the summer after Memorial Day weekend. Its new cume is now $62.7M.

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the ever greatest and inspirational movie ever made

It was surprising that this TV series-based sequel, The X-Files 2: I Want To Believe, was made a decade since the first installment came out. Especially after all that litigation. Still, rival studios thought the pic could make high teens/low 20s since the gangs all there: Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson. Instead, the 4th place sci-fi pic underperformed by a wide margin after opening to only $4 million Friday and $3.4 million Saturday from 3,185 plays and only a $10.2 million weekend. (Fox claims the negative cost on the film is $30 mil. “Movie was made for a price and will be more than profitable with overseas b.o.,” one of the filmmakes emails me.)

No. 5 was close behind: Warner Bros’ Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3D made $2.7M Friday and $3.6M Saturday from 2,688 theaters and finished the weekend with $9.4M and a new cume of $60.1M. In 6th place, Sony’s Will Smith starrer Hancock will pass the major $206.3M mark after an $8.2M weekend from 2,550 dates and surge past $500M worldwide by August 1st. Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E is in the 7th spot and just days away from its $200M cume after earning a $6.3M weekend from 3,044 plays. The toon will end up the #5 film of the summer behind Dark Knight, Iron Man, Indiana Jones, and Hancock. No. 8 is Universal’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which eked out another $4.9M weekend from 3,018 dates for a new $65.8M cume.

At #9, Starz/Fox’s Space Chimps squeezed out a $4.3M Fri-Sat-Sun (-39%) from 2,538 theaters and a $16M new cume. And rounding out the Top 10 is Universal’s Wanted in 1,754 venues: it had a $2.7M weekend and new cume of $128.6M.