SATURDAY PM: So Tropic Thunder from DreamWorks / Paramount made $8.2M Friday and jumped 17% Saturday to $9.6M from 3,319 North American theaters. Ben Stiller’s moviemaking spoof also starring Robert Downey Jr and Jack Black with Tom Cruise in a supporting role totalled $26 million for this weekend and $37 million for the 5 days since it opened Wednesday. But the R-rated comedy’s high negative cost ($135+M, or $100M including the tax rebates for filming in Hawaii) is a definite damper on its dometic gross. The studio is counting on Stiller’s big appeal overseas (unlike many American movie funnymen) to make the pic a hit in foreign territories despite all those inside Hollywood jokes. Nevertheless, Tropic Thunder seems to have broken the curse that movies about movies don’t do well at the box office. Here in the U.S., on the down side there’s been controversy over Downey appearing in blackface, and the un-PC use of the term “retard”. On the up side, critics haved loved Stiller’s direction and script and story (with Justin Theroux).

No. 2 was Warner Bros’ mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight with $5 million Friday moving up to $6.7M Saturday from 3,519 dates for $16.7M for the weekend. The latest Batman installment was finally knocked out of No. 1 after 4 straight weeks. But today, on its 30th day of release, director Chris Nolan’s comic book caper starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger became the 2nd biggest domestic grosser of all time behind only Titanic. The actioner achieved this domestic milestone on its 30th day of release. As of Sunday, The Dark Knight‘s North American cumulative stood at $$471,493,000, ahead of Fox’s Star Wars (including all re-releases) with $460,998,007. No. 1 is still Paramount’s Titanic with $600,788,188. Of course, none of these totals are adjusted for inflation, or higher ticket prices, or number of tickets sold, and so on.

In 3rd place, LucasFilm/Warner Bros’ animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars opened with $6.2M Friday but fell 20% to $5M Saturday from 3,452 venues for a $15.5M weekend. Coming in No. 4, Regency/Fox’s horror pic Mirrors debuted to $4.2M Friday and $4M Saturday from 2,664 plays for an $11.1M weekend. Another newcomer was The Weinstein Co/MGM’s latest Woody Allen pic Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johannsen, which did $3.7M from just 692 runs for #10.

The rest of the Top 10 were holdovers: No. 5 went to Sony’s holdover Pineapple Express which dropped 39% from last week for a $10M weekend from 3,072 theaters and new $62.9M cume. Universal’s The Mummy 3: Tomb Of The Dragon Emeror was #6 doing a $8.6M weekend from 3,363 venues for a new cume of $86.6M. Uni also had Mamma Mia! at No. 7 with a $6.4M weekend from 2,117 plays and a new cume of $116.4M. In the 8th spot, Warner Bros’ Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2 earned $5.9M this weekend from 2,714 runs for a new $32.1M cume. And at No. 9, Sony’s Step Brothers took in $5M from 2,648 venues for a new $90.8M cume.

As for other films opening this weekend, Summit Entertainment’s Fly Me To The Moon toon playing in 3D at 452 theaters debuted to a $2M Friday-Saturday-Sunday.

  1. Studio Lowering ‘Tropic Thunder’ B.O. Weekend Estimate To Mid-$30s Million
  2. Low-Key ‘Tropic Thunder’ $6.5M Debut; ‘Clone Wars’ & ‘Mirror’ Wkd Predictions