Warner Bros.’ aggressive push for the record books with The Dark Knight paid off, in the form of a $158.4 million opening weekend that knocked Spider-Man 3 from its brief perch as the biggest three-day debut ever. After its $66.4 million Friday gross was revised upwards to $67.8 million, showings held strong on Saturday at an estimated $48 million, leaving it a gimme putt on Sunday for the record. Hollywood also smashed the overall cumulative revenue record for a three-day weekend with $256 million-plus, beating the $218.4 million haul over the weekend of July 7, 2006, when the bloated Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest opened a week after Superman Returns and The Devil Wears Prada.
ABBA-inflected stage musical adaptation Mamma Mia! placed second for the weekend, singing its way to $27.6 million, while fellow new opener Space Chimps debuted to $7.4 million, good for seventh place. Will Smith’s Hancock,
which owned the box office over the July 4 weekend, held in third place, with $14 million, and has now earned around $191.5
million since its sneak debut on the evening of July 1. Brendan
Fraser’s Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D placed fourth, with another $11.9 million in sales; it’s now grossed $43.1 million in two weeks of release. Writer-director Guillermo del Toro‘s eye-popping, idiosyncratically flavored Hellboy II: The Golden Army tumbled to fifth place, down more than 70 percent off its first-weekend gross, bringing in $10 million and change.
Rounding out the top 10, placing sixth was Wall▪E ($9.8 million, $182.5 million overall), the latest collaboration from
Pixar/Disney; eighth was hyper-kinetic shoot-’em-up Wanted ($5.1 million, $123.3 million overall), starring James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman; ninth was Steve Carell‘s big screen action-comedy adaptation of Get Smart ($4.1 million, $119.6 million overall); tenth was animated family flick
Kung Fu Panda ($1.8 million, $206.5 overall). Eddie Murphy‘s Meet Dave, meanwhile, fell out of the top 10 after one week, earning a paltry $1.6 million. In limited release, Brad Anderson’s Transsiberian opened to $35,200 on two screens, while Lou Reed’s Berlin cleared $7,650 at a pair of venues. Losing three screens, sophomore holdover Garden Party pulled in only $2,620, pushing its two-week gross to just under $20,000.