IN A BATTLE OF TWO FILM PROPERTIES that once enriched Arnold Schwarzenegger, Batman beat Philip K. Dick this weekend at the multiplex.
Warner Bros./DC’s “The Dark Knight Rises” grossed $36.4-million to top the domestic box office for the third straight weekend, according to studio estimates released Sunday (final numbers are due Monday).
Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film has apparently lured many filmgoers who stayed away in the immediate wake of the July 20 Colorado shooting tragedy at a midnight screening that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Warner Bros. distribution head Dan Fellman told the Associated Press that the Batman film is just now performing at its expected commercial pace.
“Dark Knight Rises” easily held off Sony’s “Total Recall,” which grossed $26-million in its debut. Starring Colin Farrell, “Total Recall” is a remake of the 1990 sci-fi action tale – based on Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” -- that stands as one of the Schwarzenegger’s better received films. (By contrast, Schwarzenegger portrayed Mr. Freeze in one of his worst films: Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin” from 1997.)
A decade ago, Farrell co-starred in another Dick adaptation, “Minority Report,” which was intended to be a “Total Recall” sequel.
Third this weekend was “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” ($14.7-million), the third film based on the immensely popular children’s book series by Jeff Kinney. The former University of Maryland cartoonist tells Comic Riffs a fourth Wimpy Kid film is not in the works.
[JEFF KINNEY: The challenges of making the latest ‘Wimpy Kid']
FUN WITH NUMBERS
■“ The Dark Knight Rises” set an IMAX record, grossing nearly $48-million so far in the large-screen format.
■Nolan’s final Batman film became the third-fastest movie to reach $350-million domestically, tying “Avatar” by hitting that benchmark in 17 days (only this year’s “The Avengers” [10 days] and 2008’s “The Dark Knight”  have reached that figure faster).
■“The Dark Knight Rises” has now grossed $733-million overall. (Its predecessor, “The Dark Knight,” grossed $1-billion overall.)
■This was the lowest domestic debut for a “Wimpy Kid” film; the previous two films both opened north of $22-million – though it’s worth noting that both opened in March instead of the summer. The entire Wimpy Kid franchise has now grossed $131-million domestically.