'Dark Knight' new king of Imax

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The Imax-format release of Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight" has blown past "The Polar Express" as the giant-screen exhibitor's top first-run release.

Imax also touted the Batman sequel's passing today an average tally of $400,000 per screen on its 139 worldwide screens.

"The Dark Knight has shown the power of the Imax experience when partnered with a filmmaker and a studio that get it," Imax Filmed Entertainment chief Greg Foster said.

Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, "Dark Knight" has rung up more than $925 million worldwide including $55 million in Imax grosses. That compares to the $45 million fetched by the Imax 3-D version of Warners/ Imax's seasonal favorite "Polar," which was distributed both in conventional and Imax 3-D formats in 2004.

That first worldwide theatrical run for "Polar" capped off at about $285 million, but the Tom Hanks starrer has been re-released in Imax 3-D every holiday season. Helmed by Robert Zemeckis, "Polar" will unspool in about two dozen Imax 3-D venues over Thanksgiving, with its four-year cume in Imax 3-D approaching $70 million.

"Dark Knight" was released in July in conventional theaters and Imax 2-D venues worldwide and continues to play on 101 Imax screens in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in 38 international venues. Foster said he would welcome any Imax rerelease of the Batman blockbuster in future years should Warners see merit in such a plan.

Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said there was "a real possibility" of such a re-release, though he stressed nothing regarding an eventual rerelease has been decided.
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