The Dark Knight

Warner Bros. Entertainment.com

Can anything stop the Batman?

With The Dark Knight having blown past $200 million on Tuesday, just five days into its release, the answer apparently is no.

Steve Mason, lead box-office analyst for FantasyMoguls.com, said he thinks the movie will pick up another $70 million-$80 million this coming weekend, helping it blow past $300 million in less than 10 days.

"There's never been anything like it," Mason says via email.

The seemingly endless record grosses are coming despite a pair of offscreen incidents that, individually, have helped kill lesser movies: (1) the shocking death of one star and (2) the criminal allegations against another.

Heath Ledger, who all but dominates The Dark Knight as The Joker, died in January. While the prerelease deaths of the likes of Chris Farley (Almost Heroes) helped tamp down box-office returns, the strength of Ledger's performance has rendered the potentially tough-sell situation a nonfactor.

Christian Bale, back for a second time as Batman in The Dark Knight, made the wrong kind of news this week when he was questioned by British police regarding assault allegations lodged against him by his mother and sister.

In 2005, Russell Crowe wasn't believed to have done Cinderella Man any favors by getting arrested for hurling a telephone at a hotel worker during the boxing film's underwhelming opening weekend.

Mason, who's also a theater owner, doesn't think The Dark Knight, which has been playing nearly as well to women as to men, will experience any related drop in box-office altitude.

"I believe that the Bale arrest, especially with details as foggy as they are, will have no affect whatsoever on the performance of The Dark Knight this weekend," Mason says. "If anything, the news of the Bale arrest only adds to the mystique surrounding the movie."

Under British law, Bale was considered arrested because he voluntarily turned himself in for questioning following The Dark Knight's London premiere on Sunday night. The 34-year-old actor has denied the assault allegations through his lawyer.

On Tuesday, the day Bale was released on bail, The Dark Knight grossed $20.9 million, the second-biggest Tuesday on record, per Box Office Mojo stats.

The huge midweek numbers continued yesterday, with the movie coming up with another $18.4 million, Exhibitor Relations Co. said today, or about what Speed Racer made during its entire three-day opening weekend back in May.

Already the fastest movie to $200 million, The Dark Knight's domestic take stood at $222.2 million through Wednesday.

With presumably many more days, and dollars, to come.

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