‘Tropic Thunder’ Takes Box Office, But ‘Dark Knight’ Becomes Second-Highest-Grossing Film Of All Time

Batman beats original 'Star Wars' the same week 'Clone Wars' makes meager debut.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “Tropic Thunder” ($26 million)
#2 “The Dark Knight” ($16.8 million)
#3 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” ($15.5 million)
#4 “Mirrors” ($11.1 million)
#5 “Pineapple Express” ($10 million)

The Scarecrow couldn’t do it. Neither could Two-Face. The Joker, it turns out, was just a minor hassle. Batman has been assaulted by the combined efforts of every major villain in Gotham City, but who ultimately brings him down? Would you believe no villain at all, but, gulp, Iron Man?

Well, sort of.

Tony Stark would be mincemeat if he ever got into it with Bruce Wayne , but something’s gotta give after a month in theaters. And so, buoyed by a strong performance from the man of the summer, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller’s “Tropic Thunder” scored $26 million over the weekend to claim the #1 spot at the domestic box office, ending the four-week reign of supremacy by “The Dark Knight.” The war spoof has made $37 million since opening on Wednesday (incidentally, $4 million behind what “Pineapple Express” made last weekend).

But with a second-place finish and $16.8 million, “The Dark Knight” is still the story of the summer, meaning “Tropic Thunder,” “Iron Man” and just about everyone else save Michael Phelps will have to settle for minor victories. Falling only 35 percent, “The Dark Knight” continued to make history in its fifth weekend in release, climbing past “Star Wars” to become the second-highest-grossing movie of all time. Its total now stands at a mind-boggling $471.5 million.

Coincidentally, “The Dark Knight” also laid the smackdown on the newest redundant chapter in George Lucas’ ever-expanding universe. The Force was not strong with “The Clone Wars,” as the critically panned midquel managed only $15.5 million. Hey, at least it has a grossly stereotyped gay character going for it, right? The animated adventure should top off around $40 million.

In fourth place, “Mirrors,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, scared up $11.1 million. “Pineapple Express” rounded out the top five with $10 million. The stoner comedy’s two-week total stands at $62.9 million.

Among other new releases, Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” came in 10th place with $3.7 million, while Luke Wilson’s “Henry Poole Is Here,” well, wasn’t. The spiritual dramedy managed only $800,000.

Upcoming Releases

Trust us, summer’s almost over. You can tell by the late-August offerings, like “Death Race,” “The House Bunny” and “The Rocker,” all coming to theaters this week. Wake us up when it’s time for the Toronto Film Festival.

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