Fans line up for new Batman movie

Saturday, July 19, 2008

NEW YORK -- Thousands of Batman fans finally got what they were waiting for Friday as sold-out midnight showings of "The Dark Knight" kicked off a weekend of screenings across the country.

Media By Numbers, a tracking firm, said the Warner Bros. movie set a box office record for a midnight debut, bringing in $18.5 million Friday from its midnight screening in 3,040 theaters.

That bested the 2005 performance of "Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith," which took in $16.9 million at its debut.

"The Dark Knight" figure didn't include any of its 3 a.m. or 6 a.m. showings.

"I've been watching these since I was a kid," said Carlos Diaz, 20, a student at New York University, who went to see the movie Friday morning.

He had sprayed his hair bright green in a tribute to Batman nemesis the Joker, Heath Ledger's final full movie role.

"I can't wait to see what Ledger does with the Joker," Diaz said. "I want to see if it matches the hype."

Katie Burns, 23, of Hillsdale, N.J., who went to a 12:01 a.m. screening, said the film lived up to the hype.

"I thought it was amazing, probably one of the best movies I have seen in a long time," she said. "Heath Ledger's performance was just really, really great."

Ledger died from an accidental prescription drug overdose in January.

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