The Dark Knight

Warner Bros. Pictures

Beware, Lord Vader.

The Dark Knight brought its overall domestic gross to $441.5 million today, per Exhibitor Relations estimates, moving the film to third among the all-time box-office champs, and leaving it perhaps only a week away from trumping Star Wars for second place.

The Batman movie's Friday-Sunday take of $26 million gave the blockbuster its fourth-straight weekend box-office win—a feat not accomplished since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ruled in 2003-04.

Assuming the studio estimates hold, the weekend gross moved Dark Knight up four spots on the all-time list, as the film bypassed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($423 million), Star Wars: Episode IThe Phantom Menace ($431 million), E.T. ($435 million) and Shrek 2 ($441.2 million).

If The Dark Knight maintains its current pace, the movie should have enough momentum to overtake the original Star Wars ($461 million, including rereleases) by the end of next weekend.

After Star Wars, the next box-office challenge for The Dark Knight will be to break $500 million.

After that, the next box-office challenge will be to break Titanic ($601 million).

And after that, it can rest.

Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. The Dark Knight, $26 million
  2. Pineapple Express, $22.4 million
  3. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon, $16.1 million
  4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, $10.8 million
  5. Step Brothers, $8.9 million
  6. Mamma Mia!, $8.1 million
  7. Journey to the Center of the Earth, $4.9 million
  8. Hancock, $3.3 million
  9. Swing Vote, $3.1 million
  10. WALL-E, $3 million
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