“Total Recall" didn’t prove memorable enough to beat "The Dark Knight Rises" at the box office, as the Batman flick claimed the No. 1 position for the third consecutive weekend.
The final entry in Christopher Nolan’s superhero trilogy took in an additional $36.4 million this weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros. Since its debut, the movie has collected $354.6 million domestically — an impressive figure but still about $39 million less than its predecessor, “The Dark Knight,” made during the same time period in 2008.
Meanwhile, a pricey reboot of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger hit “Total Recall” failed to connect with moviegoers. The new version, which stars Colin Farrell as a man who toys with his memory via a chemically induced procedure, opened with a soft $26 million this weekend. That was at least more than "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” made, as the movie debuted with $14.7 million -- far less than the two prior entries in the children’s franchise started off with.
Overall, ticket sales were down roughly 28% compared with the same weekend last year when "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" debuted with over $50 million.
While “Total Recall” met industry expectations, it will be a challenge for the film to be considered a hit. Sony Pictures spent at least $125 million to produce the picture and those who saw it this weekend disliked it, assigning it an average grade of C+, according to market research firm CinemaScore. If poor word-of-mouth damages the movie’s domestic prospects, it will need to do massive business internationally to become financially successful.
The movie also draws into question Farrell’s ability to lure audiences to the box office. While the 36-year-old has appeared in a handful of well-received independent films, his attempts at more commercial fare have often fallen flat. Last year, he starred in a remake of the horror flick "Fright Night," which tanked at the multiplex with $18 million in sales. His last serious action-star role, 2004’s “Alexander,” also flopped as the sword-and-sandals epic grossed a disappointing $34 million stateside.
In 1990, the original “Total Recall” debuted with almost as much as the reboot did: $25.5 million. The film, released at the height of the governator’s popularity, went on to gross over $260 million worldwide.
This weekend, the reboot debuted in a dozen foreign territories and grossed $6.2 million. It was No. 1 in all but one location — Hong Kong — and performed best in Taiwan and Malaysia, collecting over $1 million in each country.
The latest “Wimpy Kid” film couldn’t top $20 million in its opening weekend — a feat its two predecessors were able to accomplish. But the movie received an average grade of A- from audiences this weekend, indicating it could maintain some momentum at the box office in the coming weeks. Plus, the movie didn’t cost 20th Century Fox much to make — the film’s budget was around $22 million.
Based on author Jeff Kinney’s popular illustrated book series, the “Wimpy Kid” franchise has been modestly successful for Fox. The series about a middle-school student launched in 2010, when the original took in a total of $64 million in ticket sales. Though the second’s overall gross declined to $52.7 million, Fox thought a third film — set in the summer — would be able to capitalize on a fan base of kids who were out of school. But the first and the second films, both released in March, earned better reviews than “Dog Days.”
Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane’s R-rated comedy “Ted” crossed the $200-million mark at the domestic box office after six weekends in theaters. But the film starring a crass talking teddy bear is also faring well overseas, grossing an additional $32 million from 20 foreign countries this weekend and raising its international total to $77.3 million.
The raunchy flick did brisk business in the United Kingdom and Germany but had the biggest opening for a Hollywood comedy ever in Russia with $5.5 million. The film has yet to debut in 38 foreign markets.
[Updated, 12:38 p.m. Aug. 5: While “The Dark Knight Rises” is lagging behind its 2008 predecessor in the U.S. and Canada, it is performing at a faster pace of business than “The Dark Knight” did overseas. This weekend, the film grossed $67 million in 58 foreign markets, lifting its international tally to $378.4 million. That’s 31% ahead of where “The Dark Knight” was during the same point in its release, using exchange rates from four years ago. Thus far, the movie is doing best in the U.K., where it has sold over $60 million worth of tickets to date.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with international results when available, according to studio estimates and Rentrak:
1. “The Dark Knight Rises” (Warner Bros./Legendary): $36.4 million on its third weekend, down 41%. Domestic total: $354.6 million. $67 million overseas in 58 foreign markets. International total: $378.4 million.
2. “Total Recall” (Sony): Opened with $26 million. $6.2 million overseas in 12 foreign markets.
3. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” (Fox): Opened with $14.7 million. $2.8 million overseas in five foreign markets.
4. “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (Fox): $8.4 million on its fourth weekend, down 37%. Domestic total: $131.9 million. $32.8 million overseas in 62 foreign markets. International total: $586.9 million.
5. “The Watch" (Fox): $6.4 million on its second weekend, down 50%. Domestic total: $25.4 million.
6. “Ted” (Universal/Relativity/MRC): $5.5 million on its sixth weekend, down 25%. Domestic total: $203.4 million. $32 million overseas in 20 foreign markets. International total: $77.3 million.
7. “Step Up Revolution” (Summit/Lionsgate): $5.3 million on its second weekend, down 55%. Domestic total: $23.1 million. $7.9 million overseas in 20 foreign markets. International total: $17.5 million.
9. “Brave” (Disney): $2.9 million on its seventh weekend, down 33%. Domestic total: $223.3 million. $16.5 million overseas in 31 foreign markets. International total: $118 million.
10. “Magic Mike” (Warner Bros.): $1.4 million on its sixth weekend, down 47%. Domestic total: $110.9 million.]
Follow Amy Kaufman on Twitter @AmyKinLA