Jul 30, 2012 9:00 AM by Paul Kavanaugh
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "The Dark Knight Rises" stayed atop the box office for the second straight weekend, making just over $64 million. But it's lagging behind the staggering numbers of its predecessor, 2008's "The Dark Knight."
The final piece in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has now grossed more than $289 million in its first 10 days in theaters. It dropped 60 percent from its opening weekend of $160.9 million.
By comparison, "The Dark Knight" took a 53 percent drop in its second weekend with a gross of nearly $75.2 million and a 10-day cumulative gross of $313.8 million.
Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., declined to comment on the Sunday estimates again out of respect for the victims of the Aurora, Colo., shooting that left 12 people dead and another 58 injured at a midnight showing of the film on opening night.
But people are still going to the movies, and they did so even last weekend, said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. If anything hurt the numbers for all movies this weekend, he said, it was Friday night's opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which drew a record-setting 40.7 million viewers in the United States.
"For a film that opened as big as this did, considering the situation and what happened last weekend and all that, I would say this is a very strong showing," Dergarabedian said. "It's made almost $300 million in North America and its mid-week (attendance) is very strong. It made $19 million last Monday."
In second place this weekend was the animated family film "Ice Age: Continental Drift," which is still going strong in its third week. It made $13.3 million for a domestic total of nearly $114.9 million. The fourth movie in the 20th Century Fox franchise features the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah.
Both of the new movies in wide release opened weakly. The 20th Century Fox comedy "The Watch" came in third place with $13 million. Big-name comic actors Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill play a group of guys who come together to form a neighborhood watch; despite the star power, the film was panned critically, receiving only 14 percent positive reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
And "Step Up Revolution" - the fourth film in the dance franchise, which is set in Miami this time - opened at No. 4 with $11.8 million. Richie Fay, Lionsgate's president of domestic distribution, said the number was a little disappointing because the studio expected it to end up in the mid-teens. But the core audience for the previous three "Step Up" films showed up: 63 percent was female and 71 percent was under age 24.
"The exit polls indicated that the audience that came out to see it liked it," Fay said. "Hopefully they'll get around to talking about it after they've had their fill of the Olympics. Someone suggested that that might feed into the gross - gymnastics and dance are so similar."
As for new movies in limited release, Fox Searchlight's "Ruby Sparks" grossed $151,881 in 13 theaters for a strong per-screen average of $11,683. Since its opening Wednesday, it's made $191,717. The romantic comedy from the directors of "Little Miss Sunshine" stars Paul Dano as a novelist with writer's block who creates his dream girl, played by Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the script.
And LD Entertainment's "Killer Joe," the NC-17-rated crime thriller from director William Friedkin, made $37,864 at three theaters in Manhattan for a $12,621 per-screen average. In his darkest performance yet, Matthew McConaughey plays a Dallas police detective with a side gig as a hit man. Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple co-star as the lowlifes who play crucial roles in this twisted plot.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Dark Knight Rises," $64 million. ($122.1 million international.)
2. "Ice Age: Continental Drift," $13 million. ($49.4 million international.)
3. "The Watch," $13 million.
4. "Step Up Revolution," $11.8 million. ($5.2 million international.)
5. "Ted," $7.4 million. ($2.7 million international.)
6. "The Amazing Spider-Man," $6.8 million.
7. "Brave," $4.2 million. ($9.6 million international.)
8. "Magic Mike," $2.6 million. ($5.3 million international.)
9. "Savages," $1.8 million. ($2 million international.)
10. "Moonrise Kingdom," $1.4 million.