Batman Slays Mummy

LOS ANGELES ~ Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight conquered the North American box office for a third straight weekend and was close to smashing the record for the fastest film to gross US$400 million, final figures showed.

Director Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to 2005’s Batman Begins grabbed another $42.7 million, pushing its three-week take to $393.8 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The Warner Bros. film already seized the record for best opening and second weekends – $158.4 million and $75.2 million – and became the fastest film to reach the $200 million and $300 million marks.

DreamWorks’ animated film Shrek 2 holds the record for quickest to $400 million, reaching the figure in 43 days.

The Dark Knight, which stars Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger in a widely acclaimed turn as the villainous Joker, has been in US theaters for just 17 days.

Batman’s continuing dominance left another potential summer blockbuster, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, in second with $40.5 million take in its opening weekend.

The third installment of the adventure series stars Brendan Fraser as an explorer fighting in China to save the world from a resurrected emperor, played by Jet Li.

Step Brothers, starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as two middle-aged men still living at home when their respective widowed parents meet and get married, was in third place with $16.5 million in its second weekend.

The ABBA musical Mamma Mia! took the fourth spot with $12.6 million, followed by another Fraser-starring adventure, Journey to the Center of the Earth, which raked in $6.7 million.

The political comedy Swing Vote, starring Kevin Costner as an apathetic American who somehow ends up having to cast the deciding vote in the US presidential election, opened in sixth place with $6.2 million.

The Will Smith superhero flick Hancock dropped one spot to seventh place with $5.1 million, while the animated hit Wall-E took $4.6 million and the eighth spot.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe was in ninth place with $3.4 million, ahead of the animated comedy Space Chimps with $2.7 million.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Wanted rounded out the top 12 with $2.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

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