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    The Dark Knight Rises: Could It Beat Avengers?

    Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Entertainment

    First Harry Potter, then the Avengers took Batman's opening-weekend box-office record. Last weekend, even baby Spider-Man tried to pile on.   

    But, per audience tracking data as published Monday by the Hollywood Reporter, The Dark Knight Rises is not about to get buried.

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    The publication's stats show the third and final Christian Bale-led Batman film from Christopher Nolan, opening July 20, is on track to score a three-day debut north of the then-record $158.4 million posted by the franchise's 2008 installment, The Dark Knight.

    The take is that The Dark Knight Rises, which will play in traditional and IMAX theaters, but not in 3-D venues, will go down as as the biggest-opening 2-D film ever.

    Hollywood.com box-office Paul Dergarabedian endorses both the projection and the legitimacy of the 2-D claim.

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    "The Avengers is the benchmark," he said of the superhero movie that blew away the record books with a $207.4 million debut in May. "What it did was almost unthinkable, but it happened, and it was driven in large part by the 3-D upcharge."

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which eclipsed Dark Knight last summer, and briefly wore the opening-weekend crown before being bumped to No. 2 on the all-time list, also benefitted from 3-D ticket sales.

    Dergarabedian pointed out that The Dark Knight Rises will itself benefit from inflation—the average ticket price is nearly $1 higher now than it was four years ago. 

    As things stand now, Dergarabedian sees the sequel pulling in somewhere between The Dark Knight's old big number and The Avengers' new gigantic one.

    "Anywhere in there is a wonderful result," he said.

    PHOTOS: Flick Pics: The Dark Knight Rises

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