‘Dark Knight’ Reigns Over Box Office For Second Week

'Step Brothers' comes in at #2, while 'The X-Files' has disappointing debut.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “The Dark Knight” ($75.6 million)
#2 “Step Brothers” ($30 million)
#3 “Mamma Mia!” ($17.9 million)
#4 “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” ($10.2 million)
#5 “Journey to the Center of the Earth” ($9.4 million)

In the opening scene of “The Dark Knight,” the Joker robs millions from Gotham National Bank, setting off a chain reaction that spirals the city into a cycle of despair and chaos. Maybe, instead, he should have just waited for his residuals?

For the second week in a row, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” kicked and smashed its way to a gargantuan win at the domestic box office, earning $75.6 million over the weekend for a 10-day total of $314.2 million.

To put those numbers into perspective, after just 10 days “The Dark Knight” is already the second-highest-grossing film of 2008, just behind the three-month haul of “Iron Man.” But forget Tony Stark, the Scarecrow, the Penguin and even the Riddler — Batman’s greatest foe at this point isn’t another superhero or some crazy villain, but history. Let us count the records: With $75.6 million, “The Dark Knight” scored the highest second-weekend total ever (Pow!); the highest 10-day total ever, besting “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” by more than $50 million (Smash!), and the record for fastest film to hit $300 million (Crunch!). It’s also already among the top 25 highest-grossing films of all time; and it’s the one recent movie with a decent shot at potentially beating “Star Wars” by landing in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars in the U.S. alone. And, again, it’s been out for 10 days. (Wow!)

Send up a signal, Commissioner Gordon — it’s time to start thinking about “Batman 3.”

(“Dark Knight” scribe David Goyer says he’s got an idea for “Batman 3.” Help us figure out what it is on the Movies Blog.)

Like last weekend’s box office, there was Batman and then there was everybody else. But other films did manage to do some business, most notably Will Ferrell’s “Step Brothers,” which scored $30 million to come in second place. The comedy about a couple of middle-age men stuck in arrested development was the fourth-highest opening of Ferrell’s career.

In third place, the dulcet tones of Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan (OK, not Pierce Brosnan) helped their ABBA-palooza “Mamma Mia!” to fall only 35 percent, taking in another $17.9 million. With an overall total of $62.7 million, the musical is a sure bet to crack $100 million domestic.

The same cannot be said of “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” which tanked at the box office after the franchise’s protracted hiatus away from the spotlight, earning a dismal $10.2 million to come in fourth place. Called for comment, a representative from the film said that all their usual supporters were abducted by aliens. Go figure.

Rounding out the top five, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” earned $9.4 million, bringing its three-week total to a very respectable $60 million.

Upcoming Releases

Can Batman win three fights in a row? We’ll say this: It’ll be close, as “Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” opens in 3,600 theaters. Also opening in wide release is “Swing Vote,” a Capra-esque comedy starring Kevin Costner as a man who gets to decide the presidential election.

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Dark Knight,” “Step Brothers” and “Mamma Mia!”

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