Dark ''Batman'' has a bright future in sales -- The well-reviewed superhero movie could finish out the weekend with earnings of $80 million, says Dave Karger
Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, ...
Credit: Batman Begins: David James

Batman Begins will hope to follow in the footsteps of Mr. & Mrs. Smith with a $50 million-plus debut at the box office this weekend. The first Batman film in about a decade has earned arguably the strongest reviews of any Caped Crusader flick, thanks to the dark vision of director Christopher Nolan and the star-powered cast featuring Christian Bale, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman. Comic-book film fans will certainly flock to theaters for the opening weekend, along with cineasts drawn by the positive buzz. Expect Batman to begin with a $55 million take over the three-day weekend and perhaps $80 million since its Wednesday premiere.

Last week’s blockbuster debut, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, will likely drop to about $26 million in its second weekend, good enough for the runner-up slot, while Madagascar should gross another $10 million in its fourth weekend.

The weekend’s other new wide release is the romantic comedy The Perfect Man, starring Heather Locklear and Hilary Duff as mother and daughter. Expect Duff fanatics to turn out to the tune of about $9 million, meaning Star Wars: Episode III will round out the top five with another $8 million in the bank.

Batman Begins
  • Movie
  • 137 minutes