UPDATED: The studio is waiting for China’s grosses to announce it officially today. But the Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ Batman trilogy finale from Christopher Nolan has hit a milestone believed out of reach just a month ago. Despite the tragic start of its run in North American theaters, The Dark Knight Rises has now grossed $431.4 million domestic and $577.7 million international for a total $1.010+ billion through Sunday. That’s ahead of the trilogy’s second installment The Dark Knight, which maxed out at $1.0003 billion worldwide in 2008 (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices). Meanwhile Warner Bros is insisting that TDKR is only the 11th film to reach $1 billion in its original theatrical run – not the 12th as some charts show. Because the studio is refusing to count any asterisk-worthy extra grosses from 2D films released theatrically years later in 3D like Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. (I happen to agree… so that’s why Deadline also is counting this as only the 11th.) In terms of just 2D films, TDKR moves even higher in the rankings to 5th place since all the others benefited from 3D premiums.
Hollywood even believes there’s more moolah ahead for TDKR which is still solidly in the Top 10 grossing films even now. That’s because the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20th depressed those all-important first weeks of the movie’s ticket sales in North America. TDKR has done more business overseas than here compared to TDK which grossed $533M domestic and $469.7M abroad. On the other hand, that’s in keeping with current trends for film franchises. Meanwhile, the losses of Batman and Harry Potter make two less franchises in Warner Bros’ immediate future and puts pressure on the movie studio to come up with more new ones like The Hobbit.