Here's your weekend box-office returns (new releases bolded):
1. The Dark Knight Rises - $36.4 million
2. Total Recall - $26.0 million
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - $14. 7 million
4. Ice Age: Continental Drift - $8.4 million
5. The Watch - $6.3 million
6. Ted - $5.5 million
7. Step Up Revolution - $5.3 million
8. The Amazing Spider-Man - $4.3 million
9. Brave - $2.8 million
10. Magic Mike - $1.4 million
The good news for Sony this weekend is that they managed to open this year’s Colin Farrell remake to more in three days than LAST year’s Colin Farrell remake (Fright Night) could do in its entire run. The difference being that Fright Night (other than actually being good) cost about one-fifth of what it took to make Len Wiseman’s Total Recall. On the flipside of things, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (other than being exceptionally good) is almost certainly not going to challenge Joss Whedon’s The Avengers for the box-office crown this year, but it is unlikely that anything else in 2012 is going to challenge Batman's second-place finish. The only question is just how high on the all-time list it can climb?
Based on our Olympic-opening chart from last week where we listed the top opening weekends of films to debut since 1992 during the three weeks of the Summer Games, Total Recall would actually come in second, behind only Alien vs. Predator ($38.2 million) and just ahead of Tropic Thunder ($25.8). Not too bad on that level, nor even on the list of unnecessary remakes from the ‘80s and beyond (or simply just remakes from the ‘80s and beyond). Here is where Wiseman’s Verhoeven remake ranks amongst those homegrown entities.
Clash of the Titans ($61.2 million), The Karate Kid ($55.6), Friday the 13th ($40.5), A Nightmare on Elm Street ($32.9), Total Recall ($26.0), Man on Fire ($22.7), My Bloody Valentine 3D ($21.2), Prom Night ($20.8), Footloose ($15.5), Arthur ($12.7)
There are no foreign remakes like The Grudge and Dragon Tattoo and especially no United Federation of Britain cinema either. Even with some impressive openings in that grouping, only Clash, Karate and the Man on Fire reached over $75 million in domestic ticket sales. That may be a feat that Total Recall has trouble reaching as well. Beyond what hopefully will be some poisonous word-of-mouth, it will be faced with not only The Bourne Legacy in its second week but The Expendables 2 in its third. If it makes half of its gross next weekend, Sony should be very pleased. Anything less and they will need around $300 million outside of the U.S. just to recoup its costs. Not an easy task considering the best any film with Colin Farrell in it has done overseas is Minority Report and that also featured the appeal of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg.
Fairing better for Fox, at least compared to last week’s The Watch, is the third entry in their Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dog Days. It’s $14.7 million was not near the vicinity of the spring launches of the previous two films (grossing $22 and $23 million respectively). Neither were big successes outside of the U.S., and with Paranorman coming out in a few weeks, this could prove to be a relative disappointment for the studio. Fox owned the number three, four and five slots this week. The Watch is proving to be a bigger bomb than even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but both are pretty much a moot point with Ice Age: Continental Drift in the $700 million vicinity worldwide.
The bigger continuing story, though, is The Dark Knight Rises. As should have been expected it finished on top for the third straight weekend, but still resides about $40 million off the pace of the second film. (It was about $26 million off last weekend.) Still, if $500 million might be slowly creeping out of range, in no way should Warner Bros. or anybody be disappointed with its numbers. That would just be stupid. By this Monday it will have passed Jurassic Park for 20th on the all-time chart (remember when it became the all-time box-office champ in 1993). By next weekend or very shortly thereafter it will become only the 15th film in history to hit $400 million domestically and only the 12th to do it in its initial run.
In 11th place on the all-time chart is Toy Story 3 ($415 million) and TDKR is $65 million ahead of its pace. Ninth place Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($423 million) is $33 million off of TDKR’s range. It is also $40 million ahead of seventh place Shrek 2’s $441 million. Keeping on track means Nolan’s film should finish with at least $450-480 million, trumping all the films in its path that took a rerelease or two to garner their current rankings (i.e. Phantom Menace, Star Wars, E.T. and The Lion King) and resting it comfortably right behind The Dark Knight as the fifth highest-grossing domestic film of all time.