‘Dark Knight Rises’ Closes In on $36M Box-Office Three-Peat; ‘Total Recall’ Eyes $26M

Batman makes $10.4M Friday and Sony's sci-fi remake "Total Recall" opens to $9.2M but overall box office is sluggish. Third "Wimpy Kid" looking at $17M

Last Updated: August 4, 2012 @ 8:52 AM

"Dark Knight Rises” has tightened its grip on the domestic box office, taking in $10.4 million Friday to put itself on track for a $36 million weekend.

The final entry in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, still in 4,242 theaters, has  been No. 1 since opening on July 20. It has grossed $354 million in North America for Warner Bros., $570 million worldwide.

“Total Recall” grossed $9.2 million on its first day and looks on pace for a three-day total of around $27 million. Colin Farrell stars in Sony’s remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic, which is playing in 3,601 theaters.

Also read: 'Total Recall': What the Critics Are Saying

The showing of the top two films were in line with expectations, but the overall box office may still be feeling the effects of the Olympics and fallout from the Colorado shootings.  It’s on a pace nearly 25 percent down from the same frame last year, when “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” drove the weekend with a $54 million opening.

Fox's tween-targeting “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” the weekend’s other wide opener, brought in $6 million Friday and will likely wind up with around $17 million for the three days.

Two other Fox films, “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and “The Watch," are battling for fourth place, on pace for weekends of $8 million and $6 million respectively.

Universal’s comedy “Ted” crossed the $200 million overall domestic gross mark in its sixth week and is looking at $5.5 million for the three days.

Summit's "Step Up Revolution" is on track to make $5.3 million in its second week.

Earlier …

“Dark Knight Rises” will take a third-week victory lap at the North American box office this weekend say industry analysts, who predict a $37 million three-day haul. But the focus will be on the “Total Recall” remake starring Colin Farrell.

Sony, buoyed by a late surge in tracking, is looking for its redo of the 1990 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger to open at $30 million or a little lower. The analysts, who set their projections earlier, see it bowing at around $23 million. That's dangerously close to the weekend’s other wide opener, Fox’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” pegged for $21 million.

Hard to imagine Arnold getting beat up by a wimpy kid, isn’t it? That's part of the intrigue going into the weekend, in which neither the Olympics' second weekend nor the lingering effects of the Colorado shootings aftermath are expected to be much of a factor.

The creative team and the marketing department at Sony faced the same conundrum with “Total Recall” all movie re-dos deal with: How do you offer a take fresh enough to attract new moviegoers without alienating devoted fans of the original?

Also read: 'Total Recall' Review: Over-Hyper Remake Will Make You Totally Recall Ahnuld's Version

It can be done. Fox scored with last summer’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which opened to $54 million in the U.S. and went on to gross $177 million domestically and $482 million worldwide.

But things can, as they say in sci-fi movies, go horribly wrong. Two recent updates on Schwarzenegger films are prime examples. Last year’s “Conan," with Jason Momoa as the barbarian, bombed. And 2010’s “Predators," with Adrien Brody stepping in for Arnold, didn’t fare much better.

Sony is opening the movie, produced by Toby Jaffe and Neil Moritz and directed by Len Wiseman (“Underworld”), in 3,600 locations.The action-heavy PG-13 film — the original was rated R — cost around $125 million to make and is the first of two big bets the studio is making on remakes of sci-fi classics. They’re rolling out a redo of “Robocop,” the 1987 hit starring Peter Weller, in August of next year.

Also read: Average Movie Ticket Prices Climb to Record $8.12 in Q2

The casting of the new film is intriguing. Kate Beckinsale is in the part played by Sharon Stone in the original, Jessica Biel takes the role played by Rachel Ticotin and Bryan Cranston replaces Ronny Cox as Cohaagan.

Just 21 percent of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and 44.5 percent of the notices on Movie Review Intelligence are positive. MetaCritic gives it a 49 rating.

Fox is opening “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," the third film in the franchise based on the Jeff Kinney books, on roughly 3,100 screens. Zachary Gordon and Steve Zahn return to star in this film, which cost around $22 million to produce.

The studio would be happy to see returns comparable to the first two films, and thinks it will get there, albeit with a softer opening, likely between $15 million and $17 million. The original “Diary of Wimpy Kid” opened to $22 million and went on to make $64 million in 2010. Last year, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” made $57 million after bowing to $23 million. It is rated PG.

Warner Bros.’ “Dark Knight Rises” has already earned more than $310 million at the domestic box office and nearly $250 million more overseas, so it’s a bona fide blockbuster. But the likelihood that the final film in director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy will hit $1 billion at the worldwide box office appears less solid.

“I still think it’s going to get there,” BoxOffice.com editor-in-chief Phil Contrino told TheWrap Thursday, “but it’s going to be closer than we figured.”

The impact is immeasurable, but the box-office performance of “Dark Knight Rises” will always be viewed through the prism of the Colorado theater tragedy and its aftermath. It’s currently running behind “Dark Knight,” which had made $342 million domestically after the same 13 days in release.

Also read: 5 Things to Know Before You See 'Dark Knight Rises'

In terms of overseas sales, “Dark Knight Rises” has brought in $250 million in two weeks. It will be in 58 territories after adding Portugal this week. To hit the $1 billion plateau, "Dark Knight Rises" will almost surely have to make more overseas than in the U.S., which would be a first for a Batman movie.

Upping the odds it will do that is the fact that "Dark Knight Rises" will play in China later this summer — "The Dark Knight" did not — which could bring in north of $50 million alone.