The Dark Knight Breaks Records

The Dark Knight‘s debut in theatres has broken just about all the records for an opening.

The Dark Knight posterFirst, it broke the record for highest-grossing midnight showing on Friday, 18 July. The movie took in $18.5 million at about 3,040 theatres.

Then the film broke the record for biggest opening day in history, taking in $67.85 million — besting the previous record set by last year’s Spider-Man 3 with $59.84 million. Because opening days are generally the strongest day in film’s run, this is also the record for the highest single day in history.

Now, the film has broken the record for the highest opening weekend in history, raking in $158.4 million. The previous record-holder wasSpider-Man 3, with $144.12 million. Both films opened on a Friday, making their numbers more comparable.

Along the way, the film picked up the highest Sunday gross, with $43.6 million.

The Dark Knight is one of only three films to have reached $100 million in two days — a list that also includes Spider-Man 3 and 2006′s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

The film also opened on the largest number of screens in history: 4,366 — just a few more screens than Spider-Man 3 and 2007′sPirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End.

The Dark Knight also had the biggest IMAX debut ever, grossing $6.2 million on about 94 IMAX theatres over the weekend. According to IMAX chairman and president Greg Foster, every single show sold out around the country. The previous record for an IMAX debut wasSpider-Man 3‘s $4.7 million.

Given its good reviews and Batman’s popularity (this time around) with young adults who are most likely to go to see a movie multiple times, The Dark Knight looks set to match Spider-Man 3‘s overall take of $336.53 million. That film, however, suffered from a somewhat disappointed reception, and The Dark Knight may do even better. The only comics-based movies to do better than Spider-Man 3 wereSpider-Man at $403.71 million and Spider-Man 2 at $373.59 million. It looks like The Dark Knight may enter the list of the very top comics movies ever, breaking Spider-Man’s monopoly.

The Dark Knight also looks like it will become the highest-grossing Batman movie of all time. No past Batman film has ever surpassed the gross of 1989′s Batman.

Iron Man, released earlier this year, is currently the only film between Spider-Man 3 and Batman on the list of top-grossing comics movies. Still in the late stages of its theatrical release, Iron Man has taken in $314.36 million to date. Between it and The Dark Knight, 2008 is clearly a strong year for comics-based movies, which may lead to another surge of Hollywood interest in the medium.

The above figures only include domestic grosses, not international takes. The Dark Knight is debuting in England first, then rolling out around the world.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In 1996, while still an undergraduate, Dr. Julian Darius founded what would become Sequart Organization. After graduating magna cum laude from Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), he obtained his M.A. in English, authoring a thesis on John Milton and utopianism. In 2002, he moved to Waikiki, teaching college while obtaining an M.A. in French (high honors) and a Ph.D. in English. In 2011, he founded Martian Lit, which publishes creative work, including his comic book Martian Comics. He currently lives in Illinois.

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