Box Office Guru Preview: Mummy Mia! Here It Comes Again!

Also: Swing Vote hopes to sway weekend box office voters.

by | July 31, 2008 | Comments

One action sequel tries to knock another out of the number one spot as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor launches more than seven years after the last installment of the franchise hit theaters. The Dark Knight will fight hard to try and keep its hold on the top position, but even a second place finish will get it within striking distance of the $400M mark. The weekend’s other new release is the political comedy Swing Vote starring Kevin Costner which hopes to cash in on election fever. After red hot sales in June and July, the box office will start to cool off as the final month of summer kicks off.

Brendan Fraser is back in adventure mode with the new Mummy film which brings in Jet Li as the antagonist. The PG-13 film lost the director and lead actress from the first two chapters with Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, XXX) taking over the director’s chair from Stephen Sommers and Maria Bello stepping in for Oscar winner Rachel Weisz as the Mrs. In Dragon Emperor, the adventure-loving couple travels to China when their son uncovers an ancient relic with extraordinary powers that can awaken an evil mummy. Michelle Yeoh also stars. Reviews have not been too kind.

The franchise has aged and fans haven’t exactly been clamoring for a new installment. A decent portion of the fan base will turn out but audience erosion will have an impact. Since the franchise has been locked away in a tomb since pre-9/11 days, new elements had to be added. Thus the casting of Li, the Chinese actor with the most commercial bang in the West. His fan base will take interest here especially since they rarely get to see him in big-budget effects-driven pictures. Li scored a number one hit already this year with The Forbidden Kingdom which bowed to $21.4M in April. But Li will learn what his Kingdom co-star Jackie Chan found out last summer with Rush Hour 3 – that a powerful franchise last seen in 2001 can lose its appeal all these years later. But Mummy is Fraser’s baby and with his fans enjoying him now in Journey to the Center of the Earth which has been a leggy hit, many will not feel the need for another action offering from the man so soon.

The first two films in the franchise, 1999’s The Mummy and 2001’s The Mummy Returns, opened to $43.4M and $68.1M, respectively. That would translate to $60M and $85M at today’s ticket prices. Both films debuted on the first weekend of May against no competition. In fact it was the first installment that started the industry trend of kicking off the summer movie season three weekends before the Memorial Day holiday frame. Universal was forced to try out the new strategy in order to get two weeks clearance from the unbelievably hyped Star Wars Episode I which launched a week before the holiday that year.

But the property has aged and the seven-year gap will take its toll this weekend. Since the last saga hit screens, fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and effects-driven actioners have moved on and have been wowed by numerous new franchises that have upped the standard like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and of course a rebooted Batman. The Mummy now feels like yesterday’s entertainment, in more ways than one. Tied to Olympic fever spreading from Beijing, the film also bows in 28 international markets this weekend including most of Asia (except China), Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Invading 3,759 theaters in North America, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor could debut to about $48M this weekend.

Brendan Fraser returns in the third Mummy.

Kevin Costner returns to the big screen, this time playing an apathetic loser who gets tossed into the national spotlight overnight when his vote becomes the deciding factor in an ultratight presidential election in Swing Vote. Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper star as the candidates in this PG-13 film which is hoping to cash in on the current election buzz. But buzz is what’s lacking as the Buena Vista release has none of it. The marketing volume has been low. No excitement has been generated which means that Vote will have to rely almost entirely on what’s left of Costner’s starpower. Given the cast, it will skew older than any other release which means that reviews will matter a whole lot. And critics have not been giving any big endorsements here. Mamma Mia! will provide the most direct competition for the target age group and will probably gross more in its third frame than Vote will bank in its first term. Most fans will wait for the DVD which will probably hit stores a week before the Obama-McCain showdown this fall. Landing in 2,213 theaters, Swing Vote could open to about $8M this weekend.

Kevin Costner in Swing Vote.

Two-time box office champ The Dark Knight has continued its record-shattering run all week and heads into the all-important third frame which will give the industry an idea of its long-term playability. The superhero sequel will have about $340M grossed in the first two full weeks which is the highest tally by far for any film in its first 14 days. The Mummy will be a direct threat, but not by too much as it lacks the event status carried by the Christopher Nolan megahit. A 45% drop could occur giving The Dark Knight about $41M boosting the total to a stunning $391M after 17 days.

It seems that every two years Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay get together for a comedy positioned in the second half of summer. Their latest Step Brothers should see the same kind of second weekend drops that their previous efforts saw. 2004’s Anchorman fell by 51% while Talladega Nights tumbled 53% in 2006. Sony’s Step Brothers will face a certain level of competition from the new Mummy pic so a 50% drop is likely. That would give the sibling flick about $15.5M for the frame and $62M in ten days.

Last weekend, Mamma Mia! posted the second best hold of any film in the top ten and this weekend looks to be another solid one. Universal’s feel-good hit will see minimal competition from the frame’s freshmen films so a 30% decline could be in order. That would give Meryl Streep around $12.5M and a superb 17-day tally of $87M. Meanwhile, the worldwide cume will soar past $200M this weekend.

Fox had nothing to celebrate with its dismal bow for The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Even Drillbit Taylor saw a better opening this year. The sci-fi sequel plays to a very finite audience which came out on the first weekend so it’s no surprise that after its fourth-place debut, the film dropped to seventh place on Monday and Tuesday. A fall of at least 60% seems likely this weekend which would leave X-Files with only $4M for a weak cume of $17M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Matt Damon unveiled the latest threequel of the summer with The Bourne Ultimatum which generated the best opening in the franchise with $69.3M. The Universal hit went on to collect $227.5M domestically and $443M worldwide while also garnering some of the best reviews of the year. The Simpsons Movie took a 66% tumble in its second weekend falling to second with $25.1M to push its ten-day cume to a terrific $128.1M. Disney’s Underdog underwhelmed in third with an opening of just $11.6M on its way to $43.8M. Rounding out the top five were the long-titled pics I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry with $10.6M and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with $9.5M. A pair of rejects debuted on the lowest rungs of the top ten. Paramount’s stuntman comedy Hot Rod opened to $5.3M while Liongate’s girl flick Bratz debuted to just $4.2M. Final grosses reached only $13.9M and $10M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,

Tag Cloud

DC Universe romantic comedy Sundance TV Star Wars Dark Horse Comics book disaster SXSW Shudder IFC Films Western Amazon Prime Video Tomatazos unscripted christmas movies Disney finale crime drama jamie lee curtis binge LGBT Oscars Comedy Central OWN NBC vampires Discovery Channel First Reviews game show NYCC Rocky Trophy Talk casting Winners OneApp theme song Amazon Prime cops Superheroe zombies TCM Nickelodeon Song of Ice and Fire Biopics Sundance cinemax HBO TV 007 USA Mary poppins ghosts adaptation romance game of thrones Photos south america streaming technology Marvel Studios Mary Poppins Returns Binge Guide Hulu BBC Tumblr Certified Fresh Netflix Christmas movies PaleyFest cartoon Brie Larson award winner Musical justice league comic Comic Book comiccon Captain marvel DC Comics El Rey Arrowverse Disney streaming service Musicals New York Comic Con cars Vudu medical drama Sony Pictures supernatural 2018 screen actors guild Hallmark CNN Spectrum Originals Universal breaking bad period drama Ellie Kemper GIFs Creative Arts Emmys Opinion Peacock Epix screenings San Diego Comic-Con thriller YouTube Red Masterpiece Lifetime American Society of Cinematographers Britbox Ghostbusters HBO Max Polls and Games 24 frames CMT Sneak Peek Baby Yoda Red Carpet Marathons Walt Disney Pictures Paramount Network Showtime Awards Christmas Lionsgate TV Land diversity Shondaland Anna Paquin Mystery 21st Century Fox spy thriller 2019 Apple TV Plus robots Warner Bros. Lucasfilm Music golden globes cancelled TV series true crime blaxploitation cancelled television Starz science fiction aliens WGN E! Winter TV Rock Hallmark Christmas movies Video Games Infographic The Arrangement blockbuster doctor who Women's History Month dragons E3 tv talk Emmy Nominations spanish language cooking 45 GoT biography Chernobyl Holidays DGA Elton John miniseries Family Country CW Seed Nat Geo richard e. Grant canceled ratings joker hispanic Podcast Toys Nominations halloween TBS Bravo Film historical drama Emmys Fall TV GLAAD composers singing competition docudrama Valentine's Day TCA latino Freeform boxoffice Calendar FOX Holiday TCA Winter 2020 Food Network facebook sequel Rom-Com ESPN X-Men Comics on TV Logo teaser batman BBC America TNT rotten movies we love Classic Film Schedule zero dark thirty History IFC space social media Pride Month sitcom Watching Series war Acorn TV reboot Grammys Amazon political drama movies TLC talk show Cosplay Set visit Marvel Television RT21 Spike BET elevated horror Summer DirecTV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt travel Cartoon Network Star Trek Crunchyroll canceled TV shows children's TV Sundance Now TruTV ITV police drama natural history AMC RT History indie Kids & Family Apple sag awards Academy Awards USA Network National Geographic Disney Channel transformers VICE adventure Martial Arts The Purge Disney Plus The Walking Dead Mudbound MTV The CW Avengers dc DC streaming service Adult Swim MCU foreign kids mutant cats toy story YouTube Tubi comics witnail Horror Pixar spinoff ABC Mary Tyler Moore TV renewals CBS All Access zombie Thanksgiving 2016 YouTube Premium Rocketman Superheroes Chilling Adventures of Sabrina crime werewolf The Witch Character Guide Trailer cults VH1 television TIFF Super Bowl spider-man psycho Drama Trivia animated Cannes crossover Pet Sematary anthology Apple TV+ cancelled TV shows Turner Box Office Endgame Paramount Syfy Lifetime Christmas movies Film Festival based on movie Marvel MSNBC Esquire directors FXX Reality FX WarnerMedia renewed TV shows 71st Emmy Awards A24 versus series Spring TV 2015 quibi Teen Ovation Netflix Fantasy discovery Reality Competition psychological thriller independent Heroines 2020 Premiere Dates dramedy 2017 Election revenge PBS stand-up comedy slashers Writers Guild of America LGBTQ hist politics Sci-Fi anime name the review green book mockumentary Black Mirror Turner Classic Movies See It Skip It crime thriller Extras ABC Family Television Academy Interview serial killer what to watch Animation strong female leads Crackle YA Tarantino SundanceTV spain dceu Columbia Pictures festivals CBS nature Stephen King SDCC Awards Tour Disney+ Disney Plus Mindy Kaling A&E TCA 2017 First Look APB cancelled Fox News Best and Worst free movies Pop President Pirates Comedy Countdown Action harry potter Quiz Year in Review video sports 20th Century Fox