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Tropic Thunder Box Office: Ben Stiller Comedy Dethrones Batman

Tropic Thunder Robert Downey JrTropic Thunder with Robert Downey Jr. Costarring the Iron Man actor, Ben Stiller’s action comedy has replaced Christopher Nolan’s mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight as the no. 1 movie in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Tropic Thunder box office: After four weekends atop the domestic box office chart, Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed The Dark Knight was dethroned by this tepidly received Ben Stiller action comedy, which, after three weekends atop the domestic chart, has been dethroned by a critically lambasted Nicolas Cage actioner.

Tropic Thunder box office: After 3 weekends atop the domestic chart, Ben Stiller action comedy loses no. 1 spot to a Nicolas Cage dud

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Sept. 5–7 weekend box office: The only nationwide release this past weekend, the Nicolas Cage action thriller Bangkok Dangerous has replaced the Ben Stiller action comedy Tropic Thunder as the no. 1 movie on the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart.

Directed by Danny and Oxide Chun Pang (also responsible for the 1999 Thai original of the same name) and starring Cage as a contract killer, the critically eviscerated Bangkok Dangerous drew in a paltry $7.8 million from 2,650 theaters as per final studio figures found at

And here’s a bit of box office karma: As mentioned above, Bangkok Dangerous – a sizable flop in the making – has ended the three-weekend box office reign of Tropic Thunder, which had previously ended the four-weekend reign of Christopher Nolan’s far better-received The Dark Knight. (See further below.)

Besides Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995), Bangkok Dangerous also features Shahkrit Yamnarm, Charlie Yeung, and Peter Shadrin. Budget: A not inconsiderable $45 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).

Bangkok Dangerous is a big bomb

Update: The Nicolas Cage action flick Bangkok Dangerous ultimately collected a meager $15.3 million domestically and a nearly as dismal $27.2 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $42.5 million, making it an absolute box office dud.

Bangkok Dangerous’ top international markets: Russia/CIS ($3.6 million), Spain ($3.5 million), and France ($3.5 million). In Thailand, it raked in only $738,000 at no. 49 on the 2008 chart.

Sign of the times: A Ben Stiller action comedy has ousted The Dark Knight

Aug. 15–17 weekend box office: On its fifth weekend out, Christopher Nolans’ The Dark Knight was dethroned not by another superhero movie or by some potential awards-season contender – but by … Tropic Thunder, an R-rated action comedy directed by and starring Meet the Fockers’ Ben Stiller: $16.4 million vs. $25.8 million. Since its Wednesday debut, Tropic Thunder has lifted its domestic total to $36.8 million.

So, can this Ben Stiller flick – budgeted at a hefty $92 million – become another The Dark Knight?

You must be kidding.

Also in the Tropic Thunder cast: Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr. (the star of this year’s other blockbuster superhero movie, Iron Man), Jay Baruchel, and cameos by the likes of Jason Bateman, Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alicia Silverstone, Lance Bass, Matthew McConaughey, and Oscar nominees Tom Cruise and Nick Nolte.

Note: Also this past weekend, Woody Allen’s generally well-regarded comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona debuted in tenth place with $3.8 million. In the cast: Potential Academy Award contender Penélope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, 2007), Rebecca Hall, and Patricia Clarkson. Budget: $15 million.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona Scarlett Johansson Javier BardemVicky Cristina Barcelona with Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem.

The Dark Knight becomes second movie to cross $500 million domestic milestone

September 2008 box office update: On its second weekend out (Aug. 22–24), Tropic Thunder earned $16.3 million (down 37 percent); on its third weekend out (Aug. 29–31 ), it earned $11.5 million (down 29 percent). Cume after three weekends: $83.9 million.

Also on the Aug. 29–31 weekend, The Dark Knight took in $8.6 million, reaching a cume of $502.3 million on its seventh weekend out.

To date (not taking inflation into account), only one other title has passed the $500 million mark at the domestic box office: James Cameron’s 1997/98 romantic/disaster drama Titanic ($600.8 million), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

The Dark Knight stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Aaron Eckhart.

Tropic Thunder & Vicky Cristina Barcelona box office updates

Update: Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder ultimately collected $110.5 million at the domestic box office and $85.2 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $195.7 million. A good figure, but also a disappointing one for a $92 million production.

Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($15.5 million), Australia ($8.6 million), Belgium (making a rare Top Five appearance, with $7.2 million), Russia/CIS ($5.9 million), and Italy ($4.6 million).

Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona ultimately collected a so-so $23.2 million domestically and an impressive (relative to its budget) $73.2 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $96.4 million.

Its top international markets were France ($15 million), Spain (where the narrative is set, with $9.9 million), Italy ($8.1 million), Germany ($5.5 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($4.3 million), Greece (if the Box Office Mojo figure is accurate, making a rare Top Six appearance, with $2.7 million), and Brazil ($2.5 million).

Tropic Thunder Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “Tropic Thunder Box Office: Ben Stiller Comedy Dethrones Batman” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about Bangkok Dangerous, Tropic Thunder, The Dark Knight, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Robert Downey Jr. Tropic Thunder movie image: Paramount Pictures.

Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson Vicky Cristina Barcelona image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | The Weinstein Company.

Tropic Thunder Box Office: Ben Stiller Comedy Dethrones Batman” last updated in October 2022.

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