The Christopher Nolan film closes in on the $400 million mark and wins the weekend box office for a third consecutive week, narrowly topping the third installment of the Brendan Fraser franchise
Christian Bale, The Dark Knight
Credit: Stephen Vaughan

The Dark Knight still reigns. For the third weekend in a row, the Christopher Nolan-directed juggernaut landed in the top spot, with an estimated $43.8 million. This time it had a formidable box office foe in Universal’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon, which it just held off at $42.5 million, well below industry estimates. Knight has now earned an estimated $395 million in the U.S. and should cross the $400 million milestone by Monday.

While The Mummy didn’t hit the numbers Universal was predicting, it still made a fair showing, especially considering it’s a seven-year-old franchise. And with a top-heavy cast of such international stars as Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, The Mummy opened very strong overseas, earning $60 million, on its way, according to Universal, to a worldwide gross of $400 million. Brendan Fraser should be considered a mammoth superstar by now, given that his two summer movies (Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth) both opened north of $20 million and are holding court in the top five this weekend. (Journey has grossed a solid $73 million in its month-long performance.)

The Dark Knight is still unlikely to reach Titanic“‘s epic domestic box office record of $600 million, but maintaining the top spot three weeks in a row is an impressive feat, especially in today’s crowded marketplace. (Back in 1998, James Cameron‘s film stayed at No. 1 for 15 consecutive weeks.)

And then there’s Step Brothers. Will Ferrell seems to be turning his luck around with the Adam McKay-directed comedy. It dropped only 47% in its second week to No. 3 and $16.3 million. That puts the buddy comedy’s ten-day take at an estimated $63 million — $20 million more than Ferrell’s last comedy, Semi-Pro, made in its entire worldwide run. It also bodes well for next weekend, when the movie will no doubt be obliterated by the R-rated stoner comedy Pineapple Express, rolling into theaters Wednesday.

Audiences are still taking a chance on Mamma Mia!. In its third week of release, the ABBA-inspired musical grossed an estimated $13.1 million, for a cume of $80 million and a fourth spot in the weekend ranking. Well on its way to $120 million, the Meryl Streep-starrer will get very close to Streep’s last box-office bonanza The Devil Wears Prada, which earned $124 million. Imagine what Mamma Mia! could have done if had critics actually liked it!

The only other new release of the frame, Swing Vote, fared dismally. With no clear audience for the Kevin Costner-starrer, the Disney film only took in only $6.3 million for a sixth-place showing.

And poor X-Files. Scully and Mulder landed their second weekend in ninth place with only $3.4 million. It could earn the title of summer’s biggest bomb, having taken in only $17 million. It seems no one really wanted to believe.

And that’s a wrap for this weekend in the box-office derby. Even with all the hoopla surrounding Dark Knight and other solid performers of the summer — FYI, Wall-E just crossed the $200 million mark — the year is still up only one-half of 1 percent, and attendance is down 2.78 percent. That’s remarkable really, considering there have actually been some good movies out this summer.

The Dark Knight
  • Movie
  • 152 minutes