Dark Knight Rules for Forth Week

LOS ANGELES ~ Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight topped the North American box office for the fourth week in a row, final figures showed, with its record haul topping US$441.6 million.

The hit film, which stars Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger in a widely acclaimed turn as the villainous Joker, took another $26.1 million on the Friday-Sunday period, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

It is the first time since 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King that a film has led the box-office on for four consecutive weekends.

Over its first four weeks the Warner Brothers film has broken a slew of records, including best opening and second weekends, at $158.4 million and $75.2 million respectively.

The film is now the third highest-grossing film in US history, and is rapidly closing in on Star Wars in second place, with $460.9 million.

Analysts say that The Dark Knight is unlikely to sink James Cameron’s Titanic, which holds the all-time record of $600.8 million.

The ongoing success of The Dark Knight meant marijuana comedy Pineapple Express had to be content with second place in its opening weekend.

The Seth Rogen-starring film about a pothead who witnesses a murder – but leaves a bit of his identifiable stash at the scene, giving a lead to the bad guys – earned $23.2 million for the period.

In third place, another hopeful summer blockbuster, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, earned $16.5 million, taking its two-week total to $71 million.

Another debuting film, chick-flick sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 was fourth with a $10.7-million take, followed by Step Brothers with $9.1 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Mamma Mia! ($8.2 million), Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D ($4.9 million), Hancock ($3.3 million), Wall-E ($3.14 million) and Swing Vote ($3.12 million).

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