Batman swings past $500 million

From the Associated Press

Batman’s rich alter-ego Bruce Wayne has added half a billion dollars to his riches.

“The Dark Knight” on Sunday became the second movie in Hollywood history to top $500 million at the domestic box office, raising its total to $502.4 million, according to estimates from distributor Warner Bros.

The film hit that mark in just over six weeks, half the time it took “Titanic,” which reached $500 million in a little more than three months. “Titanic,” the biggest modern blockbuster, remains No. 1 on the domestic charts with $600.8 million.

Despite its brisk pace, “The Dark Knight” is not expected to approach the total for “Titanic,” which put up smaller numbers week after week but lingered at the top of the box office for months.


Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros., said he expected “The Dark Knight” to finish at about $530 million, though it could reach $550 million if business persists as strongly as it has.

“The Dark Knight” will climb to about $505 million by Labor Day, the conclusion of Hollywood’s busy summer season.

That amounts to nearly one-eighth of Hollywood’s overall summer revenue of $4.2 billion, which beats the previous summer record of $4.18 billion set last year, according to box-office tracker Media by Numbers.

Labor Day weekend was generally sleepy at theaters, with a rush of new offerings failing to find much favor with movie audiences. Through Sunday, DreamWorks/Paramount’s comedy “Tropic Thunder” remained No. 1 for the third straight weekend with $11.5 million.

The 20th Century Fox sci-fi thriller “Babylon A.D.” with Vin Diesel premiered in second place with $9.7 million, while Overture Films’ espionage drama “Traitor,” starring Don Cheadle, opened at No. 5 with $7.9 million.

Premiering at No. 7 was Lionsgate Films’ spoof flick “Disaster Movie” with $6.2 million. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.'s campus comedy “College” opened well outside the top 10 with $2.1 million.

The top 12 movies took in $75.2 million, down 23% from the same weekend last year, when “Halloween” opened with $26.4 million.

The studios will release complete weekend results today.