After four weeks (four!), "The Dark Knight" freight train that has demolished the box office looks like it might be creaking to a halt. The measly $26 million that Batman and company took in this weekend, on their way to another first place finish, brought the film's domestic total to over $440 million. That's good enough for third place all time, with "Star Wars" (episode 4) and it's $460 million easily in reach for second place (although that figure is greatly inflated due to "Star War's" re-release gross).
As an interesting chart at Box Office Mojo shows however, the Bat is definitely in decline. And not only that, "The Dark Knight" actually performed worse in it's fourth week than did any of the other films on the list ("Titanic", "Shrek 2", and "The Phantom Menace"). By way of explaining just how unbelievable "Titanic" was, consider that it wasn't until that film's 15th week in release that it made less money than "The Dark Knight" did this week.
All-time box office lists are really just not much fun, which is what has made writing about "The Dark Knight's" excellent performance kind of tough. Here's another number for you: two. That's the number of top 20 films on the all-time domestic gross list that were released before 1990, and both of those—"E.T." and "Star Wars"—benefited heavily from more modern re-releases. Only five other films on that top 20 list were released before 2000. So while "The Dark Knight" has dominated the box office, it's hard to put a lot of historic perspective on the performance. Tons of movies do well these days. "The Dark Knight" may be the top of that pile (and it may be different in that the critical response was almost unanimously positive), but the odds are actually pretty good that "The Dark Knight" won't inhabit that two spot (if it takes it) for very long. The top box office spots will also go to the new kids on the block, at least until the way American films are released changes dramatically.
As can be seen above, the other story this weekend was the latest Apatow joint, "Pineapple Express" hit theaters this weekend. It did well, particularly for an R-rated film, but after talking about "The Dark Knight," and top 20 all-time lists, that's not saying too much. This is notable for horror fans because it sounds like "Pineapple's" director, David Gordon Green, may be setting his sights on the genre, which would be fantastic.
As for horror, it's been a slow summer, as you can see by checking the Horrors of 2008 spreadsheet, but next week we'll get one of the bigger R-horror releases of the year thus far, and hopefully some interesting horror box office action to discuss.