With anticipation so high theaters across the country were adding midnight and early a.m. shows to meet demand, Christopher Nolan‘s Batman sequel The Dark Knight took in an estimated $66.4 million on opening day. If projections are accurate, it could also become the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time.
According to Box Office Mojo and Exhibitor Relations, The Dark Knight recorded the highest-grossing single opening day in history, beating the $59.8 million mark set by previous record holder Spider-Man 3.
The Certified Fresh Dark Knight has already earned the approval of critics (see this week’s Critics Consensus column). At 94 percent on the Tomatometer, it is one of the best-reviewed films of the year. This weekend it may also become the rare blockbuster that reaches both critical and commercial success, as three-day estimates have it projected to take in a weekend total of $155 million — topping previous record holder Spider-Man 3 ($151 million).
Pre-opening projections had The Dark Knight pegged to approach $132 million territory, but Warner Bros.’ decision to open in a staggering 4,366 theaters and in higher-priced IMAX showings, exhibitors’ move to slot in midnight and early morning screenings, incredibly high buzz generated by stellar reviews and the appeal to fans of attending multiple screenings on opening weekend have contributed to a greater than expected performance. [Check back Sunday for Gitesh Pandya’s Box Office Wrapup report.]
Numbers provided by Exhibitor Relations also state that this weekend’s overall box office take (combining all films) is expected to gross $250 million. The highest previous weekend was recorded in 2006 when the combined forces of Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest helped to rake in an overall $218 million weekend.
Find more news, reviews, showtimes and movie information at the Dark Knight movie page, watch this week’s Review Revue video for our discussion of The Dark Knight and this week’s opening films, and check out the Critics Consensus column to find out what exactly the critics are saying about The Dark Knight.