LOS ANGELES ~ Batman sequel The Dark Knight rewrote the box office record books at the weekend as audiences flocked to see late actor Heath Ledger in his last completed film role, figures showed.
The film raked in US$158.4 million, crushing the previous North American box office opening record of $151.1 million held by Spider-Man 3, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations said.
Prior to The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3 had led the all-time opening weekend figures from 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean 2 ($135.6 million) and 2007’s Shrek the Third ($121.6 million).
The performance of The Dark Knight helped the overall box office to a record three-day take of $260 million.
Buzz has been building for weeks about director Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to 2005’s Batman Begins, with several reviewers hailing Ledger’s performance as worthy of a posthumous Oscar nod.
Ledger, who died of an accidental drug overdose in New York in January, plays the cackling villain the Joker in The Dark Knight.
Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock said he believed the box office success of The Dark Knight was largely due to the intense interest surrounding Ledger’s mesmerizing performance.Filed under: Arts & Entertainment