Is The Dark Knight Bigger Than Star Wars?

Click to viewThe answer seems to be yes. On Wednesday, Christopher Nolan's latest Batpic had made $342 million at the US box office in just 13 days, against Star Wars' total domestic take of $461 million. And that figure includes the various re-releases for George Lucas' franchise launcher. But is everyone getting carried away with all the big numbers?

While The Dark Knight is - despite lots of speculation online to the contrary - unlikely to take the title of most successful film of all time from James Cameron's Titanic by the time it leaves theaters, that's more because of the different entertainment landscape than any fault of Batman's, explains Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman:

You can't compare this movie to ‘Titanic.' That was a different time, and a different genre... Look, at the end of the day, there's never been another movie like this that has done $500 million in business. That's a gross that will be remembered for eternity.

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Amongst the differences between the two times? The fact that it took Titanic nine months in theaters to gross $600 million, against The Dark Knight taking more than half that amount in less than two weeks. In the incredibly unlikely instance that Dark Knight was allowed to stay in theaters until next March as opposed to being released on DVD and Blu-Ray in time for the holidays - Latino Review has been saying to expect it in stores on December 9th for a few months now - it'd easily break Titanic's record, but what exec would be willing to make so many little children so sad on Christmas morning just for that?

(Of course, if kids see the movie, then they'll still be sad, but moreso because their innocent little souls will have learned about the bleakness of humanity's flawed spirit than something missing from their stockings.)

Interestingly enough, while the movie's opening two weeks have seen spectacular grosses, it's a long, long way away from being one of the most popular movies of all time. Just one look at a list of box office grosses adjusted for ticket price inflation shows that it's not really Titanic that Batman has to beat at all - that movie is only the sixth most popular movie, after Gone With The Wind, ET, The Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments and, yes, Star Wars. Not that that stops the success of the movie being impressive: even adjusted for inflation, it's still one of the 100 most popular movies of all time based upon only its first two weeks of release. If nothing else, the success of the movie, combined with the early summer success of Iron Man, have guaranteed that superheroes will remain a large part of the Hollywood landscape for the foreseeable future, at least until our next Meteor Man or Batman and Robin.

Can 'Knight' be box office's best? [Variety]

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