Batman Holds off 'The Mummy', Comic Book Movies Top $1B

Update - 3pm EST, Sunday, 8/3: Turns out even the undead can't stop Batman. Despite the new Universal release The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor leading the North American box office on Friday, according to new estimates (at boxofficemojo.com) for the three-day period, The Dark Knight will again be the weekend's overall winner.

The Dark Knight is estimated to have taken in $43.8 million dollars for the Friday-Sunday period, which would only be a little less than a 42% drop from its total last weekend and would be the second-best third weekend in box office history, behind Spider-Man's $45m in 2002.

The film's pace "picked" up on Saturday and Sunday, with week-to-week drop-off improving to only 39% and 42%, respectively.

The Dark Knight is now estimated to have grossed nearly $395 million in total domestically and could break the $400m barrier by end of business Monday, just 18 days after its release.

If the film continues to show these sort of "legs" through the remainder of the summer, breaking the rarified $500m barrier seems more and more likely, putting only Titanic and its $600m+ grosses above The Dark Knight on the all-time domestic box office list. Dark Knight would also likely qualify as the highest-grossing film of this decade, even with ticket prices/grosses adjusted for inflation.

As to The Mummy 3, its $42.5m for the three-day frame fell within its Friday-based estimates, but The Dark Knight simply leap-frogged over it.

With just a little more than a million dollars separating Dark Knight and The Mummy 3, however, there is no doubt both Universal and Warner Bros. will be watching intently for the final figures on Monday so one can officially claim victory.

* Yesterday we reported Paramount apparently had pulled Iron Man and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from theaters. This was inaccurate. Iron Man's theater count in fact increased by 122 theaters, and it came in as the 16th highest-grossing film of the weekend, up from 22 the weekend before.

Indy 4 played in 145 fewer theaters than the previous weekend and finished in 20th place. So the end result is likely the same. Iron Man has probably secured its position as the year's #2 film.

Original Teport from Saturday, August 2nd:

While continuing to set individual records and leading big-screen comic book adaptations to an historic milestone, The Dark Knight was finally deposed from atop the North America box office charts Friday.

Universal's The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was Friday's #1 film, grossing an estimated $15.3 million dollars in its opening frame. According to website boxofficeguru.com, this should put the film on pace for a respectable $39-40m opening weekend.

The Dark Knight - which Thursday became the fastest film to reach the $350m mark (in 14 days, nine days quicker than the previous record holder Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) - scored an estimated $12m on Friday, only a healthy 47% decline from its figure from last Friday.

If its pace holds through the weekend it will add another $38-41m over the three-day period to run its cumulative total to approximately $390m, which would likely mean it will pass the $400m mark on Tuesday. That feat would be accomplished in 19 days, or 24 fewer than the 43 it took Shrek 2.

The Dark Knight's $12 million dollar take also helped mark another box office milestone. According to figures on boxofficemojo.com, sometime on Friday, the combined box office might of the comic book-inspired The Dark Knight, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, eclipsed the $1 billion dollar mark for 2008, standing roughly at $1.01 billion.

Put into perspective, that figure alone accounts for approximately 1/6th of the film industry's entire estimated domestic box office revenue for this year, currently at a little under $6 billion. Or in other words, for every 6 or 7 people who went to see any film at a movie theater in 2008, one went to see one of these five films.

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