At midnight, it comes. With expectations fueled by hundreds of advance sellouts, glorious reviews and Oscar buzz.
The Dark Knight, box-office experts say assuredly, is a $100 million opening-weekend lock—a feat requiring a take of at least $1.4 million every hour for 72 straight hours, a feat accomplished by only 10 movies in Hollywood history.
"It's just a ripped movie," says Media by the Numbers's Paul Dergarabedian of the latest Batman adventure. "It's not just a superhero movie. It is a crime epic...It kind of transcends that superhero moniker."
The follow-up to Christopher Nolan's franchise restarter, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight returns Christian Bale to Gotham City and casts Heath Ledger as the Joker, a performance, the late actor's last, that is already inspiring Oscar odds. Reviews have been, with few exceptions, raves.
As of today, Fandango said, The Dark Knight was accounting for 94 percent of all its ticket sales. At MovieTickets.com, another online service, the movie was selling tickets at twice the rate of Spider-Man 3, Hollywood's reigning opening weekend champ.