Pineapple Express, The Dark Knight

Darren Michaels/Columbia Pictures, Stephen Vaughan/DC Comics

The summer box office continued to cook yesterday, with The Dark Knight express well on its way to blow by E.T., and Pineapple Express off to an unexpectedly fast start.

Having passed Spider-Man for seventh on the list of all-time grossers on Tuesday, the Batman movie took in an estimated $5 million Wednesday, Exhibitor Relations said, bringing its overall domestic total to about $410 million.

By the end of the weekend, the box-office tracking firm said, The Dark Knight "should be up to at least No. 4" on the all-time list, meaning it would have passed E.T., currently in fourth with $435 million, and positioned itself to take down Shrek 2, currently in third with $441 million.

The studio behind The Pineapple Express, meanwhile, is stoked at its estimated $12.2 million debut, easily tops for Wednesday. Columbia TriStar was said to have been hoping for a $4 million opener for the R-rated Seth Rogen-James Franco action-dope comedy.

"We have been screening the film aggressively in the field, and knew it played great," studio senior vice president Steve Elzer wrote in an email today. "Forgive the pun, but we were confident there was a good buzz building on Pineapple Express. But no one expected this result, and I think the best is still ahead of us this weekend."

On the list of all-time Wednesday openers, Pineapple Express now stands at a lofty 20th place, the only modestly budgeted ($25 million), non-special-effects-laden comedy among the bunch. It's also the only August opener among the bunch.

Yesterday's other major new release was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, which came away with an estimated and solid $5.7 million. The original movie opened with $2.1 million on a Wednesday in June in 2005.

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