Entertainment behind the scenes
Batman movie “The Dark Knight” has been a box office behemoth with four straight weekends atop ticket sales charts, but some industry watchers expect the new comedy adventure “Tropic Thunder“ could knock it off its No. 1 perch this weekend.
“Tropic Thunder,” which stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr., opened in theaters on Wednesday with a healthy $6.5 million for the one night, slightly above expectations, said the DreamWorks movie studio which is behind the movie.
That was about half the $12.15 million first-day total of stoner comedy “Pineapple Express” last Wednesday, and ”Express” failed to beat ”Dark Knight” this past weekend when ticket sales were tallied. “Express” had $23 million for the weekend to $26 million for “Dark Knight.”
With a 44 percent drop – which is the average decline over the past few weeks for “Dark Knight” – it should have weekend ticket sales in the mid-teens, which is below the $20 million that DreamWorks expects from “Tropic Thunder” this weekend.
“Friday and Saturday I think are going to be big days for (“Tropic Thunder”), and it may have a shot at knocking out ‘Dark Knight’ from number one,” said Paul Dergarabedian, head of box office tracker Media By Numbers.
As of Wednesday, “The Dark Knight” had taken in nearly $452 million in the United States and Canada, according to the Web site for Box Office Mojo. It has ruled the box office every weekend since it opened on July 18.
As an R-rated movie, “Tropic Thunder” has been difficult to advertise on TV because the most outrageous parts of the movie cannot be shown to all audiences. DreamWorks hopes the midweek opening can help overcome that difficulty.
“The great word of mouth from the Wednesday and Thursday opening will push people to see the movie this weekend,” said Chip Sullivan, a spokesman for DreamWorks.
Hollywood has long been populated by egocentric actors, actresses, directors, writers, producers and other narcissists who are easy to poke fun at. This week “Tropic Thunder,” directed by Ben Stiller and starring him, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr., is the latest film to take a satirical look at high-profile stars. But is there any joke that goes too far when Hollywood insiders are making fun of Hollywood?
Not really, said Justin Theroux, a co-writer with Stiller on the movie. ”The good thing about Hollywood is that I don’t think you’d be able to show this to anyone and have them go, ‘God that’s so me,’ They’ll all go, ‘That’s that guy,’” Theroux, 37, told reporters in recent interviews.
Comedian Jack Black, 38, has emerged as a major comedy star with the success of movies such as “Kung Fu Panda” and “Nacho Libre.” Along with Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller, he is a virtual card-carrying member of the so-called Frat Pack of Hollywood funny men.
In upcoming movie “Tropic Thunder,” which opens on Aug. 13, the portly Black plays a comic actor named Jeff ‘Fats’ Portnoy, who is known for playing several parts in films that revolve around flatulence.
Having recently launched her own perfume and starred in a Web mini-series called “A Day With the Hiltons,” the 49-year-old Kathy Hilton has now nudged her way into Hollywood movies with a cameo appearance in Ben Stiller’s new summer comedy “Tropic Thunder,” playing Tom Cruise’s wife, according to In Touch Weekly.