The weekend estimates have The Dark Knight edging out The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor for the #1 spot, with $43.8 million to The Mummy's $42.5. The ranking may well change by the time the actual figures come out Monday afternoon, but the important fact will remain: The Dark Knight has hauled in $395 million after merely 3 weekends of release. Its first two weekend drops -- 53% and 42% -- may not seem sensational, but for a film that opened to $158 million, those numbers aren't half bad. The movie is second on the list of the top third weekends in history, behind Spider-Man, but it's already made just about as much as that film did in its entire run.

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opened on more screens than any of its franchise predecessors, but had the weakest opening weekend (unless you count the Scorpion King spin-off), running about one million behind the 1999 original. (The Mummy Returns opened to $68 million back in 2001.) Next weekend doesn't offer much direct competition -- except The Dark Knight, natch -- so maybe it can make up some ground, though I don't reckon word-of-mouth will be its friend.

Things did not go well for Swing Vote, which had to make do with $6.3 million and sixth place. I'd say this means viewers are wary of politics right now (which wouldn't bode well for W), but I don't think too many people knew that Swing Vote opened. You have to market summer counter-programming.

My heart breaks as I peruse the back end of the top 10, where The X-Files: I Want to Believe -- for my money, the most undervalued movie of the summer -- falls to ninth with a painful 66% drop. What can I say? I get why it didn't work out. But I'm not happy about it.

The full estimates after the jump.
1 - The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) - $43.8 ($10,267) - $394.89
2 - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Universal) - $42.45 ($11,289) - $42.45
3 - Step Brothers (Columbia) - $16.30 ($5,268) - $62.97
4 - Mamma Mia! (Universal) - $13.12 ($4,285) - $87.98
5 - Journey to the Center of the Earth (New Line) - $11.91 ($4,208) - $43.07
6 - Swing Vote (Touchstone) - $6.30 ($2,846) - $6.30
7 - Hancock (Columbia) - $5.20 ($1,869) - $216.00
8 - Wall-E (Disney) - $4.75 ($1,857) - $204.22
9 - The X-Files: I Want to Believe (Fox) - $3.43 ($1,075) - $17.06
10 - Space Chimps (Fox) - $2.84 ($1,330) - $22.09

Numbers from Box Office Mojo.

Pineapple Express and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 both open on Wednesday. Sisterhood might hit a demographic sweet spot and Pineapple has been brilliantly marketed, so it'll be an interesting weekend.
CATEGORIES Cinematical