Box Office: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ wins again as Olympics dampens weekend

As expected, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” remained at the top of the box office this weekend grossing another $64 million for an astounding $289 million in just 10 days.  At this point, “Rises” predecessor, “The Dark Knight,” had found $313 million four years ago. While the tragic shooting at an Aurora, Colorado theater screening “Rises” on its opening day has affected the gross for the critically acclaimed thriller, this weekend’s 60% drop can also be attributed to record TV ratings for the Opening Ceremonies and first two days of competition.  In 2008, the Olympics took place from Aug. 8-24, over three weeks into “The Dark Knight’s” blockbuster run.  Overall, Warner Bros. should still expect “Rises” to gross over $425 million.  Whether it can hit the $500 million mark remains to be seen.

Effectively the freshest family player in theaters, 20th Century Fox’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift” took the second slot with another $13 million and $114 million to date. The fourth installment in the “Ice Age” franchise should end up with $170-180 million domestically, but is a cash cow overseas where it has already grossed over $450 million.

Debuting in third was another Fox product, “The Watch.”  The ensemble R-rated comedy starring Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and Vince Vaughn opened with a paltry $13 million.  That’s the worst opening for Stiller since 2007’s “The Heartbreak Kid” and Vaughn’s second misfire since Ron Howard’s “The Dilemma” bombed last year. Fox clearly couldn’t communicate the alien subplot, the raunchy humor or just make it look legitimately funny to moviegoers.

Also having a terrible opening was Summit Entertainment’s “Step Up Revolution.”  The fourth film in the “Step Up” franchise grossed just $11.8 million over the three-day frame. That’s the lowest opening in the series under “Step Up 3’s” $15.8 million just two years ago. “Step Up 3’s” performance was so discouraging, it actually convinced Summit Entertainment to take back domestic control of the franchise from Walt Disney Studios. Summit believed it could better market another “Step Up” film, but it’s now clear interest in the franchise is significantly less without the involvement of Channing Tatum who appeared in the first two installments.

Inching toward the $200 million mark in fifth is Universal Pictures’ hit comedy “Ted.”  The Seth McFarlane surprise found another $7.3 million for $193 million to date. It should become the studio’s second $200 million plus grosser this year after “The Lorax.”

New films opening this Friday include “Total Recall” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.”

Box office actuals are released on Monday.