‘The Dark Night’…


‘Dark Knight’ brightens Warner Bros. day 




It’s a happy Friday in Burbank.


Warner Bros.’ Batman sequel The Dark Knight took in a record $18 million-plus at this morning’s 12:01 shows, according to an executive at the studio, jump-starting what could one of the summer’s top hits. Warner produced the movie for an estimated $180 million with partner Legendary Pictures.


Dan Fellman, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, said his staff was still crunching the numbers and expected the final gross from some 3,000 theaters in the U.S. and Canada that ran midnight shows to be in the $18-million-to-$19-million range.


“A lot of exhibitors called up desperately asking us, ‘Can you send more prints, and quickly?,’ ” said an especially chipper Fellman.


Twentieth Century Fox’s Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith had owned the midnight bragging rights after it snagged $16.9 million from eager geeks in May 2005.


Adjusted for ticket price inflation, that’s about $18.7 million — although in Hollywood, where records are made to be broken, broken, and broken again, the number-crunchers never get around to that.


All 18 screens at an AMC theater in Barrington, Ill., sold out their 12:01 shows for the PG-13-rated The Dark Knight. adventure. One exhibitor called Warner this morning to report his full weekend grosses for the movie.


“He said, ‘I don’t want you to think I’m manipulating the numbers but I’ve sold out every seat at my theater through Sunday night,’ ” Fellman said.


— Josh Friedman, Los Angeles Times


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