Billion Dollar Batman

by Brandon Gray
The Dark Knight

February 20, 2009

After months of teetering on the brink of $1 billion in worldwide box office revenue, The Dark Knight has officially reached the milestone, distributor Warner Bros. announced today. The Batman sequel is the fourth movie in history to hit the mark, behind Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Breaking the worldwide gross down, The Dark Knight has made a phenomenal $533.1 million domestically and $468 million overseas. It's the only movie in the Top 20 of the all time worldwide chart where the domestic gross exceeds the foreign gross, which is a common trait among comic book-based pictures. On the all time domestic chart, The Dark Knight ranks second to Titanic, while it stands at No. 22 on the all time foreign chart. Warner Bros. noted that The Dark Knight's total includes the highest-grossing two-dimensional re-mastered IMAX release ever at $49.6 million domestic and $15.3 million overseas.

By far the highest-flying Batman movie, The Dark Knight has out-drawn its predecessor by more than two and a half times, and Batman Begins was no slouch with its $371.9 million worldwide haul. It's unprecedented for a sequel in a blockbuster franchise to more than double its predecessor. Among all superhero movies, The Dark Knight is king worldwide, though Spider-Man 3 made more overseas at $554 million.

The Dark Knight had been hovering just shy of $1 billion for several months and reportedly sat at $997 million when Warner Bros. modestly relaunched it on Jan. 23, timed to take advantage of the announcement of the Academy Awards nominations on Jan. 22. A Best Picture nod did not materialize, but Warner's push was nonetheless enough to reach ten digits. Curiously, after weeks of silence on Dark Knight's latest foreign grosses, Warner suddenly chimed in with the announcement that it's total was now $1,001,082,160 shortly before the Academy Awards air on Sunday.

The actual date that The Dark Knight crossed $1 billion is unknown at this time. Clearly, it's unlikely that it happened today or on Thursday, because its box office is at a trickle now and Warner Bros.' new figure is more than a million above a billion.

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