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August 4, 2008

MOVIES: Could 'Knight’ catch 'Titanic’ wave?

Another weekend, another benchmark.

With $43.8 million this weekend, “The Dark Knight” becomes the year’s first movie to claim the box office throne for three straight weeks and appears destined to become at least the second-biggest film of all time.

And some people are beginning to mention the “T” word: “Titanic”.

If estimates from Nielsen EDI hold, the second installment of the new Batman franchise edged out “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”, which opened at $42.5 million.

That order could change when final figures come in today, but what is clear is that “Knight ”has not slowed down as it continues to gobble up records. By Tuesday, the film, which has made $394.9 million, will become the fastest film to reach $400 million.

And if it can add another $61 million to the till, it will supplant “Star Wars” ($461 million) as the second-biggest film in history. “Titanic ”remains a distant first with $601 million. (Of course, ticket sales are relative; when adjusted for inflation, “Gone With the Wind” remains king with $1.4 billion.)

“We’re beginning to look at a final number with at least a 5 in front of it,” says Dan Fellman of Warner Bros., which distributed “Knight”. “After that, who knows?”

Chris Gore of FilmThreat.com says that teen boys are doing for “Knight ”what teen girls did for “Titanic”.

“They’re seeing it multiple times, on IMAX, on the regular screens,” he says. “I think it’s going to beat ”Titanic“.”

Will Ferrell’s comedy “Step Brothers” was third with $16.3 million, followed by “Mamma Mia!” ’s $13.1 million. The musical has made $88 million.

The only other major newcomer, Kevin Costner’s “Swing Vote”, couldn’t muster much support, nabbing sixth place with $6.3 million, about $2 million short of projections.

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