Once the actual Actuals drop sometime today or tomorrow, we will have a better idea of precisely how much history was made this weekend...but no matter what the number and no matter how slim the margin, history was made.
On a much more minor scale, Mamma Mia! set a record this weekend as well--highest opening weekend for a musical film. The ABBA musical's $27.6m beats out Hairspray by the slimmest of margins. This has to be seen as a coup for the marketers over at Universal for two very obvious reasons:
1) Opening as Dark Knight counter-programming was a bold move that paid off in spades, and
2) The film sucks like a Hoover...but more on that soon enough...
In other box office news...
Hancock's legs are longer than anyone could have predicted going in, thereby completely stifling the film's thoroughly undeserved critical bashing and further solidifying the power of Will Smith as an American Movie Star Icon. There are still no easy predictions of how much the film will make...three weeks on the chart and it still comes in at a strong #3 with $14m...a $191m cume thus far means that it will most likely end up with somewhere between $205 and $215 by the end of next weekend, and could possibly angle for $250m by the end of its run.
WALL-E will have to fight hard to overcome Kung Fu Panda's current status as "highest-grossing animated film of the summer." Panda is winding down mightily, but will end up with around $210m once all is said and done. After 4 weeks in release, WALL-E has raked in $182m and is still chugging along relatively strong. That combined with the fact that it is still the highest quality film out there right now should make for some decent legs in the coming weeks. It will certainly break $190m by the end of next weekend. Then it will have to turn on the after burners to try and glide just a bit past the Panda, somewhere in the next 3 or so weeks.
More than ever, it is apparent to me that this summer is becoming the Summer of Inches. Dark Knight secured the opening weekend record--by mere inches. Mamma Mia! now owns the musical record--by a hair. WALL-E will likely end up taking the animated box-office crown--but only by a tiny bit. Indiana Jones may even end up filling the spot most thought it would easily fill--as a higher grosser than Iron Man--but if it does, it will be by a fraction of an inch. In what is the most amusing news--and certainly the most disheartening for the studios involved--is that The Incredible Hulk, which currently has $131m in the bank at the end of this weekend frame, will most likely accomplish its goal--out-grossing Ang Lee's Hulk--by next weekend. But it will likely accomplish it by grossing less than one million more...and by that time it will be dead. In a Summer of Inches, this new Hulk movie will have to use centimeters to accomplish a goal they arrogantly figured they'd easily secure by a mile.
At this point, however, it would seem like The Dark Knight has "highest-grosser of the summer" locked up...and not just by a few million. So go figure.