Record-Setting $18.5 Million Bow for Dark Knight

07/18/2008 at 04:20 PM EDT

Record-Setting $18.5 Million Bow for Dark Knight
Heath Ledger as the Joker (sitting) and Christian Bale as Batman, in The Dark Knight
Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros
Buoyed by excellent reviews and exceptional word of mouth, the Batman adventure The Dark Knight has set a box office record for any midnight debut, according to the tracking service Media By Numbers.

Starring Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger, the movie made $18.5 million on Friday from its showings in 3,040 theaters, topping the $16.9 million made by the debut of 2005's Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, the Associated Press reports.

The Dark Knight figure excludes the box office from any of its 3 a.m. or 6 a.m. screenings. Some industry observers foresee the movie making as much as $130 million this weekend – another record.
Stephen M. Silverman

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