breaking the bank.

Batman breaks box office bank - 'Dark Knight' nabs an estimated $155.4 million

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight” rocketed the Batman film franchise into the superhero stratosphere as it nabbed the highest weekend opening ever in grossing an estimated $155.4 million. Tally beats the $151.1 million opening of “Spider-Man 3” in May 2007. The victory dance didn’t end there. The domestic box office racked up an unprecedented $250 million in ticket sales on the enormous strength of filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” and the $27.6 million debut of Universal’s femme-favored “Mamma Mia!,” making it the biggest three-day weekend ever in terms of total grosses. Previous record weekend tally was $218.4 million, set in early July 2007 when “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” debuted to $135.6 million. Warners estimates that “Dark Knight,” returning Christian Bale as DC Comics’ famed superhero Batman and playing in a record 4,366 theaters, could gross as much as $220 million in its first week. That’s more than the entire domestic gross of Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” which cumed $205 million domestically and $166 million overseas. “Dark Knight’s” added popularity is due in part to the death of Heath Ledger, who stars as the creepiest Joker yet. “Mamma Mia!” also made the records books in narrowly beating “Hairspray” to become the top opener for a musical. Domestically, the weekend was up a whopping 64% over the same frame last year and has all but closed a deficit to bring this summer in line with summer 2007.

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