Is The Dark Knight the best movie ever?
Every summer, it seems like another superhero movie has broken some box-office record or other and made movie history. This past year, Spider-Man 3 made $151,116,516 in its opening weekend, beating out the previous record holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which pulled in $135,634,554 in 2006. This year is no exception: as a recent press release from Warner Bros. proclaims, The Dark Knight has surpassed them all, taking in a total of $158,411,483.
Given that ticket prices are forever on the rise, that doesn’t necessarily mean Knight attracted the most viewers of all time. But ticket for ticket, Batman still beat Clark Gable — badly — this weekend. The 1939 classic Gone with the Wind made $945,000 when it first opened, back when ticket prices averaged $0.23. That means only 4.1 million fans chipped in two bits to see it that first weekend, while some 23 million paid an average of $6.88 to catch Knight the first few nights after it was released.
The more cynical might suggest that the box office doesn’t have much to do with cinema quality. In which case the latest returns from the Internet Movie Database’s Top 250 are of interest. In it, Knight has skyrocketed among online voters to be rated the best film of all time, receiving more than 91,000 votes in less than a week, with an average rating of 9.4. That puts it ahead of The Godfather in second place at 9.1 and leaves Wind in the dust in 172nd place with an 8.1 rating. Then consider that number three on the list is The Shawshank Redemption (virtually tied with The Godfather with a 9.1), which handily beats out Citizen Kane way back in the 28th spot with an 8.6. Maybe the cynics are right after all.
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