It was touch and go for a day or so, but according to estimates, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) has won the weekend, narrowly defeating the third installment of the "Mummy" franchise, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Universal) starring Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello.
Racking up its third weekend at #1, The Dark Knight added an estimated $43.8 million to its staggering $395 million take after just seventeen days, putting it in line to cross the $400 million mark tomorrow, the first movie to ever make that amount in just 18 days. (Shrek 2 was previously the fastest movie to hit $400 million, which it grossed in 43 days, so "Dark Knight" did the same two and a half times faster.) Currently, The Dark Knight is the eighth-highest grossing movie of all-time and Warner Bros.' top grossing movie, but by this time next weekend, it's likely to be the fifth or sixth highest grossing movie domestically as it starts targeting Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. From there, it's only $70 million away from becoming only the second movie in over 80 years of filmmaking to gross $500 million domestically, not accounting for inflation.
Internationally, The Dark Knight added $37 million for a total of $202.5 million overseas and a worldwide total of $597.5 million.
Directed by new helmer Rob Cohen, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor brought in an estimated $42.5 million in its opening weekend in 3,759 theaters, an average of $11,300 per site. To put those numbers in perspective, the third "Mummy" movie grossed less its opening weekend than the original movie in 1999, while The Dark Knight made more in its THIRD weekend than Tim Burton's Batman made its opening weekend 19 years ago.
"Dragon Emperor" opened in first place internationally with $59.5 million at 3,559 theaters.
Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.