Having paid tribute this weekend to Michael Phelps's historic athletic achievement with a record-shattering of your own in the 200-liter grain-alcohol-medley, your soaring national pride has likely given way to the agony of hangover defeat. Have some box office number; they're full of electrolytes: 1. Tropic Thunder - $26 million Putting controversy aside for a moment, Tropic Thunder—Ben Stiller's $90 million satirical homage to movie star narcissism, context-reliant flatulence, and Down Syndrome humor—finally succeeded in doing what no other movie released in the past month could: It unseated The Dark Knight from its topmost perch. Still, we'd caution the director and star that it might be a little early to throw a pair of shredded stump-hands into the air and claim victory, as that puts Tropic's take somewhere between that of Pineapple Express and Step Brothers— both of which managed to go full retard at a fraction of the budget. What Tropic needs now to inch its way into the black is a strong overseas showing—which is not entirely out of the realm of possibility, considering the French critical elite have already touted movie-within-a-movie Simple Jack (L'imbécile Jacques) as the greatest sad-clown cinematic achievement since Jerry Lewis's The Errand Boy.2. The Dark Knight - $16.79 million It's now official: Another $16.79 million makes The Dark Knight the second-highest-grossing film of all time behind Titanic, and ahead of the first Star Wars. The staggering take—$471.5 million earned domestically—means that every man, woman, and child above the age of 13 has now paid to see this movie an average of 11 times, where they gleefully mouth along to The Joker's numerous soliloquies about the joys of anarchy. 3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - $15.505 million Registering a paltry 18% Tomatometer score, this subpar animated release from George Lucas—the one the legendary filmmaker warned us "not to get your hopes up about; we just thought it would be fun to make a really shitty-looking CGI movie that would continue to erode the fond memories you have of the last good thing I did about 30 years ago"—fell way short of the $19 million we predicted would be spent by franchise diehards looking for something to fill the long, empty days since ComicCon ended. Most came away deeply disappointed, and at times downright confused—particularly by the extended Black and White Cantina Ball sequence overseen by its effete slug-host, Capote the Hutt. 4. Mirrors - $11.125 million We realize Kiefer Sutherland doesn't make particularly good movies, but we're glad he makes them all the same. Mirrors seems a perfect example of the late '00s Sutherland oeuvre: A movie that takes the scariest single moment from any thriller—closing the bathroom medicine chest to reveal a shadowy figure lurking behind—and stretches it to feature length. Watch out behind you, Kiefer! The ghost has a knife! 5. Pineapple Express - $10 million There's several ways to interpret the surprisingly precipitous 57% drop in Pineapple's weekend receipts, but we're guessing it's because stoner comedies don't do well when it comes to repeat business, due to general demo inertia. If you could spend the weekend curled up with a Graffix bong and the pungent scent of God's vagina, you'd probably skip the multiplex crowds, too.
- WEEKEND BOX OFFICE August 15–17, 2008 [Box Office Mojo]