$400 mil etched in Batcave

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Maybe it should have starred the Flash.

Warner Bros.' Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" sprinted beyond $400 million on its 18th day of release Monday, trampling the record of 43 days set by 2004's "Shrek 2."

The DreamWorks Animation sequel eventually rang up $436.7 million domestically. "Dark Knight" is expected to top $500 million.

Only seven theatrical releases have fetched more than $400 million in U.S. and Canadian coin. The list is famously topped by 1997's "Titanic" with $600.8 million, followed by 1977's "Star Wars" with $461 million and then "Shrek 2."

"Dark Knight," which was co-financed by Legendary Pictures, rang up $6.3 million on Monday, adding to a previous domestic tally of $393.8 million.

"The continued repeat business and the incredible movie itself just speak volumes," Warners exec vp Jeffrey Goldstein said Tuesday.

Internationally, "Dark Knight" has grossed more than $211.3 million through Monday, making for a worldwide tally of $611.3 million. "Titanic" also holds the record for worldwide boxoffice with a seemingly unapproachable $1.84 billion.

"Dark Knight" has yet to bow in at least six major foreign territories. The Christian Bale starrer is set to unspool in Japan and Korea during the coming frame.

"It's been incredible," Warners international distribution president Veronika Kwan-Rubinek said. "We're extremely pleased with the results to date and look forward to a continued strong run through September."

"Dark Knight" has topped the domestic charts for the past three weekends, outmuscling Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" in the last session. It's expected finally to settle for second place during the coming frame, with Sony's R-rated comedy "Pineapple Express" widely projected to post a No. 1 opening weekend after unspooling two days early today to maximize late-summer playtime. (partialdiff)
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