10 Biggest Superhero Movie Opening Weekends Of All Time

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5. The Dark Knight

Release date: July 18, 2008

Opening weekend total: $158.4 million

Batman Begins was a modest Batman movie, if there’s any such thing. It was strangely undersold by Warner Bros. itself, perhaps because the previous series starring the most popular superhero in the world had been run into the ground. When sitting in the theater watching the origin of Batman all over again with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, it was hard not to stop and think, “Wait, this Batman reboot is really happening!”

By the time The Dark Knight came out, everything was different. Mostly, it came with the triumph and tragedy narrative attached to Heath Ledger, who turned in a stunning, virtuoso performance as a very different Joker but had tragically dies prior to the film’s release. The resulting publicity helped catapult the opening weekend to a level previously unseen by superhero movies, and it would be almost four years until another genre film topped its initial three-day haul.

It’s always tough to determine how much reviews and positive word of mouth figure in to opening weekends because people generally have their minds made up about going to see a movie ahead of time if they go when it first hits theaters. Still, it certainly didn’t hurt that some fans were calling this the best Batman or even best superhero movie ever at the time.

Next: 4. The Dark Knight Rises