‘Dark Knight’ Takes Box-Office Crown, Becomes Third Highest-Grossing Film Of All Time

Seth Rogen and James Franco's 'Pineapple Express' settles for #2.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “The Dark Knight” ($26 million)
#2 “Pineapple Express” ($22.4 million)
#3 “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” ($16.1 million)
#4 “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2″ ($10.8 million)
#5 “Step Brothers” ($8.9 million)

When the Joker’s on the loose, your city needs saving, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance, there’s only one superhero you need call. He’ll fight the Penguin, Two-Face or Catwoman — oversized villains in need of oversized justice. So who would have guessed that Batman would still have the time to take care of some low-level drug pushers?

Falling just 39 percent from its record third-week earnings, “The Dark Knight” scored another win for grim superheroes everywhere, netting $26 million to beat “Pineapple Express” and climb atop the domestic box office for the fourth consecutive weekend, becoming the first film to do so since “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003. The Christopher Nolan film’s cumulative total is now an astronomical $442 million, already making it, astonishingly, the third-highest-grossing movie of all time (behind “Titanic” and the original “Star Wars”). And it’s reached that number in less than a month of release.

Much like when he cleaned the streets of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, however, Batman had to put a hurt on the drug trade to get to #1, bogarting the public’s attention and relegating Seth Rogen’s very funny “Pineapple Express” to a second-place finish. The stoner comedy nabbed $22.4 million over the weekend, and $40.5 million since opening on Wednesday — solid, if not sensational numbers for an August comedy. But if there’s any justice in the world, “Pineapple” will get at least one more chance to square up against “The Dark Knight” — when Heath Ledger and James Franco both get nominated for Best Supporting Actor at next year’s Oscars.

In third place, meanwhile, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” earned just $16.1 million, a disastrous drop of 60.2 percent in its second weekend. There was no tomb-raiding for this sequel, which brought its overall total to just south of $71 million, a far cry from the series’ previous two installments. So much, it seems, for “Mummy 4.”

Rounding out the top five, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2″ earned $10.8 million to come in fourth place, while “Step Brothers” earned $8.9 million for a fifth-place finish. Their totals stand at $19.7 million and $80.9 million, respectively.

Among other titles in release, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” continued to impress, earning $4.9 million for a seventh-place finish. After opening with just $21 million, “Journey” has now brought its five-week total to a healthy $81.8 million.

Upcoming Releases

Get ready for headlines that read, “Iron Man Beats Batman … Sort Of,” when Robert Downey Jr.’s “Tropic Thunder” finally unseats “The Dark Knight” as the #1 movie in America. Also starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black, the satire opens Wednesday in 3,000 theaters. And how fitting that, just as Batman overtakes “Star Wars” on the all-time list, the latest Jedi saga, “The Clone Wars,” will hit theaters. “Mirrors,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Henry Poole Is Here” also open next week.

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Dark Knight,” “Pineapple Express” and “Tropic Thunder.”

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