For once, the happening fulfilled the hype. "The Dark Knight" is a bona fide, blockbuster, record-making hit. The film starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger packed cinemas everywhere, all weekend, and took in $155.3 million in its first three days in domestic release, according to estimates by Warner Brothers.
That opening number beats the previous record of $151 million held by "Spider Man III." The per-theater average was a packed-to-the-gills $35,579. But that’s far from the only record broken by the film. According to Media By Numbers, "The Dark Knight" smashed the box office record for the biggest single-day take, with $67.84 million on Friday (even higher than the earlier estimate), beating "Spiderman III"’s record; also, it landed the biggest Imax box office gross, and the biggest midnight preview gross on Thursday night, with $18.5 million. The rising tide lifted all boats: this was also the biggest 3-day box office weekend in Hollywood history, according to Media By Numbers, besting the weekend of July 7, 2006. Congratulations to Warner Brothers, to director Chris Nolan, and to the industry, which needs the pop culture gargantua such as this to sustain the mystique and the glamour of the movies. (Photo by intrepid Jonathan Alcorn, who caught Batman sneaking out of town at LAX last night.) Update: Barely a day later, Bale got into an argument with his mother and sister in London, where he had gone for the premiere of "Batman." After an alleged altercation, Bale attended the premiere. The following day he submitted to police questioning at a police station in Belgravia. He left after questioning without being charged.