If one guy were going to take out a whole team of superheroes, you'd have to assume it would be Batman.
The gauntlet has been laid, the challenge set. Marvel's superhero spectacular "The Avengers" recently opened to the tune of $200.3 million in the U.S., making it the biggest opening weekend release of all time. Box Office Mojo, one of the Internet's most widely used sites for financial information pertaining to movies, is predicting that Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" will make something in the neighborhood of $500 million, stopping short of overtaking records set by "The Dark Knight" but outgrossing "The Avengers" early estimated summer take by something in the neighborhood of $80 million.
The site's summer domestic box office forecast predicts that the comic book adaptations will come in first and second, while two other comic book movies -- "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men in Black III" -- would score the third- and fifth-highest earners of the summer.
Back in April, movie theater industry site Fandango found that "The Avengers" had topped "The Dark Knight Rises" as the most anticipated movie of the year among fans. However, many argue that those results were skewed, since the study was done at the height of the hype for "The Avengers." But with a new trailer in theaters and the Batman publicity campaign kicking into high gear, Nolan's third and professed final outing into the Batman universe is gaining momentum quickly.
One factor that may play a defining role in which movie makes more is repeat customers; while "The Avengers" has had ludicrously good buzz and many fans saying they can't wait to see it again, the widespread and proven Batman fan base have come out and broken theater records before.
Back in July of 2008, a combination of an amazing marketing campaign and high interest in seeing The Joker (possibly cinema's most proven box office villain) on our screens for the first time in two decades played a part in "The Dark Knight" opening to a then record-breaking $158 million weekend.
The only question now is can Batman fans do it again.