MONDAY AM UPDATE: Here is the tentative summer total through today’s holiday – $4.12 billion, compared to Hollywood’s best-ever $4.16 billion for summer 2007 or just 1.3% behind. The summer box office may have run up near-record numbers, but it crawled to a close this Labor Day weekend with some very uneven films. After 20th Century Fox’s Vin Diesel sci-fi starrer Babylon A.D. (3,390 theaters) opened No. 1 Friday with a narrow margin of victory, holdover DreamWorks/Paramount’s moviemaking spoof Tropic Thunder (3,473) finished the 3-day weekend and 4-day holiday on top for the third straight week. The Ben Stiller comedy made $3 million Friday and $4.2 million Saturday for an $11.5M weekend and $14.3M holiday for a $86.6M cume. No. 2 Babylon A.D. took in $3.1M Friday and $3.3M Saturday for a $9.5M weekend and $12M holiday. Coming in 3rd place was Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight (2,750) which on Sunday will pass the $500 million mark domestically in record time. It’s already the second-highest grossing pic of all time behind only Titanic‘s $600.8 million domestically. It took the latest Batman installment only 6 weeks and 3 days, whereas it took Titanic 13 weeks, to hit $500M. Don Cheadle’s star turn in Overture’s political thriller Traitor (2,054) stirred some interest when it debuted Wednesday to $792K from 2,054 venues, but managed to come in only 5th on Friday. Lionsgate’s ill-timed and badly done spoof Disaster Movie (2,642), savaged by New Orleans film critics for opening on the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, managed only 7th place. Element/MGM’s imbecilic R-rated laffer College (2,123) was roundly rejected for only a 15th place opening Friday. And Focus Features’ well-cast laugher Hamlet 2 (1,597) opened Wednesday with a disappointing $245K in 1,530 theaters and managed just No. 17th Friday. Meanwhile, Universal released its Mamma Mia! sing-along prints at 299 out of a total 1,968 theaters across the country, and they delivered 20% of the total gross for the 3-day weekend.
Top 10 Movies — Fri & Sat Totals, 3-Day Wkd Rankings, 4-Day Holiday Ests:
1. Tropic Thunder (DWorks/Paramount), $3M Fri, $4.2M Sat, $11.5M wkd, $14.2 holiday
2. Babylon A.D. (20th Century Fox), $3.1M Fri, $3.3M Sat, $9.7M wkd, $12M holiday
3. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros), $2.1M Fri, $3.2M Sat, $8.6M wkd, $11M holiday
4. The House Bunny (Sony), $2.5M Fri, $3M Sat, $8.3M wkd, $10.2M holiday
5. Traitor (Overture), $2.2M Fri, $2.9M Sat, $7.8M wkd, $10M holiday
6. Death Race (Universal), $1.7M Fri, $2.3M Sat, $6.2M wkd, $8.1M holiday
7. Disaster Movie (Lionsgate), $2M Fri, $2.1M Sat, $5.7M wkd, $6.8M holiday
8. Mamma Mia! (Universal), $1.1M Fri, $1.6M Sat, $4.3M wkd, $5.7M holiday
9. Pineapple Express (Sony) $960K Fri, $1.2M Sat, $3.5M wkd, $4.5M holiday
10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Weinstein/MGM), $735K Fri, $1.1M Sat, $2.8M wkd, $3.5M holiday
15. College (Element/MGM), $707K Fri, $717K Sat, $2.1M wkd, $2.6M holiday
18. Hamlet 2 (Focus), $511K Fri, $615K Sat, $1.6M wkd, $2.1M holiday
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.