Mamma Mia! (reviews) and Space Chimps (reviews) will fight it out over left over crumbs...
Dave McNary and Pamela McClintock of Variety:
Warner Bros.’ "The Dark Knight" is poised to enter the record books as it opens today -- and the weekend has a shot at being the best on record in overall grosses on the strength of the Batman sequel and Universal’s adaptation of stage musical "Mamma Mia!"
The record holder for best nonholiday weekend is the weekend of July 7-9, 2006, which brought in $218.4 million in total domestic box office grosses, led by the $131.5 million bow of Disney sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest."
Based on the enormity of tracking and advance ticket sales, "Dark Knight" has a shot at opening as high as "Dead Man’s Chest," although anything over $100 million would be a big win. "Dead Man’s Chest" presently sports the second-best opening on record after that of "Spider-Man 3," which nabbed $151.1 million over the May 4-6 weekend last year.
"Mamma Mia!" also boasts excellent tracking, and it should be able to match, or best, the $27 million opening of "Hairspray" on the same weekend last year. Toon "Space Chimps," the frame’s other new wide entry, probably won’t open to more than $10 million, but that’s still a boost to overall B.O. receipts. Pic, which debuts in 2,511 runs, was financed and produced by Starz Media, with 20th Century Fox distributing.
Also adding to the kitty will be several stalwart holdovers, including "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," "Hancock" and "Wall-E."
No one could have predicted that the third weekend in July would turn out be such a behemoth. The big question: Just how much can the market expand?
Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed "Dark Knight" -- as dark as its title suggests -- should far outpace the opening of his "Batman Begins," which debuted to $48.7 million in June 2006 on its way to cuming $205.3 million. At least part of the reason for the sequel’s added appeal is the performance of the late Heath Ledger, who plays the most ghoulish Joker yet.
Legendary Pictures, DC Comics and Charles Roven produced the pic.
"Mamma Mia!," toplining Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep, is as upbeat as "Batman" is brooding.
Overseas, the film adaptation of the West End musical is already breaking records, having launched in several territories a week ahead of its domestic bow. Pic has so far taken in $41 million from only a dozen markets, shattering the stereotype that tuners don’t play well abroad. The U.K. has led the way with $21 million.
Brit stage director Phyllida Lloyd directed "Mamma Mia!," which uses the songs by the popular Swedish band Abba. Set in Greece, the musical also stars Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard. Tom Hanks’ Playtone and Littlestar produced.
Warners is bowing "Dark Knight" in a record 4,366 theaters domestically. That’s a record number of playdates, although on some screens, "Dark Knight" may not play the full day. Nolan’s film clocks in at just over 2½ hours.
At the same time, Warners and theater owners are maximizing their returns by starting round-the-clock screenings at just after midnight.
Had "Dark Knight" opened in May, when there is far less competition, it might have opened to the same business "Spider-Man 3" did domestically...
Joshua Rich of EW":
Christian Bale's latest Batman movie should easily beat fellow newcomers ''Mamma Mia!'' and ''Space Chimps'' -- but how big will it be?
Thanks to that hefty screen count and those extra shows added after selling out TDK should break the record held byPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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