Friday Box Office: Did Batman Beat Mummy?

The Friday box office results for August 1, 2008 are in, and it’s going to be a close one for box office crown. We have two films vying for first place this weekend: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the unwanted sequel starring Brenden Fraser, and the very-much-wanted sequel and box office behemoth The Dark Knight.

The Mummy 3 won the Friday battle, raking in $15.5 million, but it may not win the war. The Dark Knight dropped 45% from last weekend – still pretty damn good for a blockbuster of its size – to add another $12.8 million to its cume. Nevertheless, those smart analysts over at  Box Office Prophets except, with some uncertainty, that the Batman movie may come out on top when final box office numbers are counted. For starters, The Mummy 3 may be a little bit frontloaded – whereas The Dark Knight has proven that people want to see it consistently any day of the week. At the very least, if it comes down to the wire, I could see Universal hedging the numbers a bit so that when the weekend box office estimates come out, The Mummy 3 is sitting on top.

Irregardless, this is a win for Universal. After the disaster that was The Mummy 2 (granted, it made a ton of money), Universal has to be pleased with a $40+ million opening weekend. While it didn’t look as bad as The Mummy Returns, the presence of yetis and poorly designed dragons – as well as God-awful reviews – had the average moviegoer thinking that this was a down-and-out release. I had pretty much forgotten that this was part of a very successful movie franchise, and that it’s still summer – a good amount of money can still be made.

As for The Dark Knight, the good news is that by the end of the weekend it will be closing in on $400 million, the fastest movie to do so. The bad news is that now, it is looking less and less likely that it will knock Titanic off its throne.

Kevin Costner’s Swing Vote, by the way, flopped with only $1.9 million on Friday, begging for a $5-6 million weekend. I feel bad for Costner, as I really want him to get a hit one of these days. That being said, it was clear from the beginning that Swing Vote was not going to be that comeback he so desperately needs.

By Erik Samdahl
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