WINNER OF THE WEEK: 21st Century Bat. The Dark Knight Rises topped the chart for the third week in a row, earning another $36.4 million, according to studio estimates. That’s down a modest 41 percent from last week’s business. The Bat-sequel has settled into a groove from which not even the Olympics or horrific opening-weekend publicity can dislodge it. So far, it’s earned $354.6 million in North America in just 17 days.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: 20th Century Fox. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days should have opened around $20 million, since it’s the first film in Fox’s family-friendly franchise to open while kids aren’t in school. Instead, it had to settle for a third-place debut, with an estimated $14.7 million, the puniest premiere by far among the three Wimpy Kid flicks. Also the weakest in its franchise: Ice Age: Continental Drift, which was fourth this week with an estimated $8.4 million, for a one-month total of just $131.9 million. (Fox’s previous two Ice Ages earned nearly $200 million each.) And then there’s Fox’s The Watch, limping to fifth place this week with an estimated $6.4 million, half of last week’s dismal debut. Dog Days indeed.
RECALL’S TOTAL: Is Total Recall‘s second-place opening a sign of success or failure? The remake earned an estimated $26.0 million, a bigger take than many experts predicted and an enviable figure for any movie debut that doesn’t involve caped heroes or sparkly vampires. It’s also an impressive premiere for any movie featuring such middling box office draws as Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel. Then again, the 1990 original opened with a nearly identical $25.5 million, back when tickets cost just over half of what they do now. Given that the new version cost at least $125 million to make, and that it faces competition for the action audience from The Bourne Legacy and The Expendables 2 in the next couple weeks, it’s not likely to come anywhere near breaking even unless foreign audiences come through in a big way. A per-screen average of just $4,335 suggests that Total Recall won’t have strong legs. Contrast that with Rashida Jones’ Celeste and Jesse Forever, which topped the art-house openings this week. The comedy about two formerly-marrieds who try to stay friends grabbed a hefty $28,000 per screen. Consider that a divorce.