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Weekend Box Office: Bourne Legacy, The Campaign Topple a Dark Knight

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By Chris Kavan - 08/12/12 at 10:51 PM CT

After a couple of weeks of disappointing returns from the new entries at the box office, Hollywood finally got some of its mojo back thanks to a new action hero in an old franchise and a couple of comedic politicians.

There were plenty of questions surrounding The Bourne Legacy - would audiences turn in to this franchise without Matt Damon? Would they embrace Jeremy Renner? It turns out they would, as the film opened in the top spot for the weekend with $40.27 million. The opening wound up between the original Bourne Identity ($27.1 million) and The Bourne Supremacy ($52.5 million). It was also in line with the Casino Royale ($40.8 million), which itself was considered a franchise reboot.

The only troubling sign for the film is that the cinemascore was a straight B. The mostly male (52%) and older (69% over 30) liked it, but didn't love it, and there has been a lot of talk about the abrupt ending, which could hurt it in the long run. Still, it can be considered a solid start, though time will tell how close it can get to its $125 million budget and with The Expendables 2 coming up, it faces some stiff competition.

In second place Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis flexed their comedic muscles to a second place, $27.44 million debut. Though it's a bit off from Ferrell's recent films The Other Guys ($35.5 million) and Step Brothers ($30.9 million) for a politically-themed comedy, it's an impressive number. Although it earned an even worse B- score from audiences, considering there are no other comedies on the coming horizon, The Campaign should enjoy steady business, especially with election season heating up.

The week's other new entry, Hope Springs, managed a fourth place showing with $15.6 million, and wound up with $20 million since opening on Wednesday. It also earned a B score, and was in line with Meryl Streep's Julie & Julia debut back in 2009. Despite the somewhat mixed score, it should be able to top The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel's $45.38 million total, drawing on a similar audience.

That left three-week champion The Dark Knight Rises in third place with $19.45 million (down 45% from last week). Christopher Nolan's finale has earned $390.2 million (coming in 15th overall on the all-time box office list). It has also broken the $800 million global mark. It should have not problem crossing the $400 million mark before next weekend.

Rounding out the top five, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days made $8.2 million, bumping its total to $30.55 million. While the drop for this Wimpy Kid film was just 44% (compared to about 54% for the previous films), it's still running behind both entries in terms of total gross through the same period - but has already surpassed its modest $22 million budget.

Not faring so well in its second week was Total Recall, which took a massive 68.3% hit and dropped all the way to sixth place with $8.1 million. The film has earned just $44.2 million since opening and seems to be following a similar path to the ill-received Conan reboot from last year. While it will probably cross the $50 million mark, compared to its $125 million budget, it's not looking so hot and better hope for a nice international bump to save its hide.

Next week is a crowded box office with two family films, the live action Odd Life of Timothy Green and animated ParaNorman, squaring off against the action-packed Expendables 2 and the last role for Whitney Houston in the drama Sparkle. We'll see if the box office continues its winning ways for another week.

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