"Knight" stands tall in the weekend Box office collections

Sunday's estimates are now looking larger than originally stated with the $39.8 million likely to be revised up towards $43 million. Official Sunday figures will be released later this morning **.

"The Dark Knight" has broken the record books with the film taking in an estimated three-day opening weekend haul of $155.3 million - easilly beating the previous 'best opening weekend of all time' title held by "Spider-Man 3" with $151.1 million.

A $67.9 million haul on Friday combined with a $48 million Saturday total to yield the figure which gives the extraordinarily well-reviewed film an astonishing $35,579 per screen average across 4,366 theaters. Warners is estimating a Sunday figure of around $39.5 million, but no-one is certain how this will play out until accurate three-day figures come in tomorrow morning.

Internationally the film is also doing gangbuster business with a $40 million haul despite only opening in 20 countries which doesn't including major markets like the UK or Japan. Even if the drop-off is steep, unlikely considering the reviews, the film will easily pass the $300 million and likely push into the $400 million range by the time its finished its run - either way it'll be the biggest earner of the year and well ahead of nearest rivals Indiana Jones and Iron Man.

"Mamma Mia!" proved highly effective counter-programming with the musical pulling in $27.6 million - the biggest opening ever for a musical and inching just ahead of last year's $27.5 million opening for "Hairspray". Despite notably mixed reviews, the film hauled in a strong $9,275 per screen average domestically. Its also racked up a very impressive $72.6 million international haul in just eleven days.

Both the success of 'Mia' and 'Knight' domestically this weekend led to $250 million in ticket sales overall - the biggest three-day weekend in terms of total grosses ever - easily throttling the previous record of $218.4 million on July 7th-9th 2006 when "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" and "Superman Returns" dominated the frame.

Not everything was sunshine though. Fox's highly panned "Space Chimps" opened in seventh place with a mere $7.3 million. Whilst last week's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" held well with only a 43.3% drop, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" plummeted a disastrous 70.9% (from $34.5m to $10.0m) - even more than Eddie Murphy's highly panned "Meet Dave" which fell 68.9%. Both rank high among the biggest second weekend drops of all time - not a surprise for 'Dave' but certainly a shock for 'Hellboy' considering reviews have generally been good.

Both "Wall-E" and "Hancock" are holding well with both to pass the $200 million mark by next weekend. Further down the list various May and June releases are slowing right down with "Indiana Jones" and "Iron Man" neck-and-neck to finish up with about $320 million each, "Kung Fu Panda" to score about $220 million, "Sex and the City" to sizzle at $160 million, "Get Smart" and "Wanted" to come in at just over $140 million while "Incredible Hulk" is just under that mark.

On the limited release front the thriller "Transsiberian" took in a strong $17,600 per screen average in two New York theaters.

Bala in Trouble

Highly talented director Bala has been creating trouble to the producer Pyramin Saimira lately. He has commended to finish the movie Naan Kadavul with the budget of Rs 7 crores but now he is demanding 15 crores for its completion. The producers have taken legal action against Bala in the court. Wait and see what Bala will do about this in the future.

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