The Mummy Steps Up to Take on The Dark Knight

The Reject Report

Welcome to another splendid edition of the Reject Report. This weekend promises to be absolutely competitive as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor challenges The Dark Knight for the box office title. And this weekend Swing Vote rolls out as well. I guess the question I have is: will this weekend’s box office race come down to the purchase of a single movie ticket?! We’ll see.

To be totally honest with you, though, I’m kind of beat after the last two weeks of trying to keep up with The Dark Knight and all the records it has toppled. The next major record ready to go down is the “fastest movie to $400 million” mark. By my estimation, The Dark Knight would need to do something like $50 million in business this weekend in order to topple the record, and I think there’s no way that will happen. Business is starting to tail off.

This week, The Dark Knight has been making between $8-$10 million a day. I think business will pick up again this weekend and we should see $43 million for The Dark Knight this weekend. That means the latest Batman picture should top the $400 million mark on either Monday or Tuesday of next week, by my calculation.

Will it be enough to hold off this weekend’s new releases, though? Good question. Let’s take a look at the weekend’s new releases beginning with The Mummy 3.

Brendan Fraser in The Mummy 3The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the third instalment of The Mummy series and is directed by Rob Cohen. It’s a sequel to the two previous Mummy movies from 1999 and 2001 and again stars Brendan Fraser reprising his role as adventurer Rick O’Connell. In a sure nuke-the-fridge decision though, Maria Bello replaces Rachel Weisz as his wife. (For those who don’t know, the term “nuke the fridge” is the motion-picture equivalent of “jump the shark.” It is named after that ridiculous scene in that Indiana Jones 4 movie where they literally nuke-bombed a fridge.)

Jet Li plays the evil Han, the Dragon Emperor, a mummy that awakes after 2,000 years. The Emperor is looking to rebuild his army and O’Connell and his family turn to Zijuan (Michelle Yeoh) to raise an army of the undead from under the Great Wall of China to stop the Dragon Emperor.

So that is the third Mummy movie and the tracking for it seems good enough to top $50 million, from what I gather, for a first-place finish this weekend. So that is my prediction: $51 million from over 3,700 theaters. I already picked this flick to finish in the top ten for the summer, although quite frankly most of my predictions for what would happen this summer are wrong anyway.

In any event, this is a popular franchise that should do well in appealing to a summer audience. So that is my take on this latest Mummy movie.

Madeline Carroll in Swing VoteNext is Swing Vote, and the question I kind of have is why it is being released in the dead of summer instead of during the fall, where you would think a movie like this belongs. It doesn’t seem to fit as a summer movie, for some reason. But it is being released now, right in the middle of superhero-movie season. Presumably this is a bone being thrown to the art-house crowd and other older folks who are repelled at the rest of what is being served up right now on the screens.

Swing Vote stars Kevin Costner as lovable loser Bud Johnson, a beer-swilling slacker dim-bulb who is too drunk to show up to vote on election day. His daughter Molly (played by Madeline Carroll) sneaks into the ballot box to cast a vote for her dad, but the voting machine breaks down and the vote doesn’t register. So that one vote ends up in limbo, the race becomes a dead heat, and it all comes down to Costner to show up in ten days to decide which fool becomes President.

You see what I mean about this movie being more of a fall flick? I don’t think too many summer-movie popcorn-type people are going to want to see this thing, to be brutally honest. I think this thing should have been a late-August release at the earliest: people would be more interested in the election by then and might be more willing to show up. Maybe this movie will attract the political crowd, but I even have doubts about that. As someone who was involved in politics pretty heavily myself, I can tell you that the last thing I’d want to see in the middle of a heated election campaign is a movie about politics! So I think this movie only makes $11 million smackeroos. on 2200 screens.

So this is the way I see the weekend unfolding:

1. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor $51 million
2. The Dark Knight  $43 million
3. Step Brothers  $16 million
4. Swing Vote $11 million
5. Mamma Mia! 
$10 million
6. Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D 
$5.7 million
7. The X-Files: I Want to Believe  $5.2 million
8. Hancock  $4.7 million
9. WALL-E $3.8 million
10. Hellboy II: The Golden Army $2.9 million

There’s an outside chance that Brideshead Revisited, a period drama released by Miramax, might sneak into the top 10. It’s playing in less than 200 theaters, though.

So that is a look at the weekend box office! It should be interesting to see whether, indeed, The Dark Knight meets its match after 14 consecutive days at the top of the box office. Well, at least Titanic‘s record of 15 consecutive opening weekends in first place should remain intact. Can you believe Titanic finished first for 15 weekends in a row? The reason that happened was because the competition in December, January, February and March was pretty minimal. The Dark Knight has too much competition, though: not just this week but the next several weeks as well. We’ll see what happens.

See you at weekend’s end as we find out who wins the battle for the box office here at the Reject Report!

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