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The Dark Knight

Warner Bros. Entertainment.com

Even Batman gets tired.

The Dark Knight grossed $986,453 yesterday, the first time the supreme summer blockbuster had failed to make at least $1 million in a single day.

The movie, already Hollywood's No. 2 all-time grosser at the domestic box office, is expected to rally this weekend, and bring its overall total to an epic $500 million.

Through Wednesday, its 41st day in release, The Dark Knight had grossed $492.7 million.

At the same point in its run in 1998, Titanic, Hollywood's reigning domestic champ, had grossed $280.2 million.

Any appearance that The Dark Knight is winning the race with Titanic, however, is deceiving.

By slipping below $1 million yesterday, The Dark Knight reached its tipping point. As a rule, once a movie falls, it doesn't get back up, weekends excluded.

This was mostly true of Titanic, too. The big difference: Titanic kept up its $1-million-a-day-or-more pace for 101 days. For The Dark Knight, that would have meant not running out of steam until about Halloween.

In all, Titanic remained in theaters for nearly 300 days, and grossed $601 million—back when the average movie ticket cost about half of today's.

A couple of weekends ago, Warners Brothers, the studio behind The Dark Knight, reiterated its stance that its horse wasn't going to beat Titanic. "Titanic is king of the box office," studio distribution chief Dan Fellman said, "and will remain that way forever."

With its millions piled nearly as high, The Dark Knight has enjoyed a record summer that might not be soon replicated itself.