You hear that noise, faithful comic book fans? It's the sound of your beloved medium gaining real mainstream acceptance. Over the past 18 days The Dark Knight has raked in more than $405,699,734, moving it past Spider-Man to become the seventh top grossing film of all time. It is also the movie to break the $400 million mark, absolutely destroying the abysmal Shrek 2's record of 42 days.
This also makes TDK the highest grossing film based from a comic book ever made. This is pretty significant considering that only ten years ago, Joel Schumacher had pretty much destroyed the notion of a serious comic book movie ever being made.
In fact, his neon-colored abortion of a film ensured that comics themselves would take years to be considered a serious medium again. High school comic fans across the country reported wedgie-related incidents up 33% after Batman and Robin came out. Truly, the 90's were a dark time to be a comic fan.
Granted, Marvel's X-Men and Spidey movies helped dig us out of that hole, but TDK is the first movie to capture the heart of the hardcore movie fan as well as that of Joe Moviegoer. Heath Ledger's final role will be nominated for an Oscar, and hardly anybody would be surprised if he won it. Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman put out excellent supporting efforts that in some cases held the movie together in some of the longer stretches. Oldman's James Gordon was, in some cases, more spot on than the that of the leading man.
Speaking of Christian Bale, I guarantee that he is at least partially responsible for the unstoppable growth of TDK. Not because of his grim, realistic portrayal of the psychologically damaged Bruce Wayne. No, Bale's real contribution to the film was getting women to plant their shapely butts into theater seats. Women don't just like Bale, they love him the way anti-smoking ads love to be obnoxious.
Honestly, if I hear one more woman rant about how sexy Bale is, I'm going out this Friday night in a big black cape and just growl at all the ladies at the bar. It probably wouldn't affect my night at all, sadly. In any event, the person responsible for casting him in the lead role deserves a Batcave full of money. Men want to be like him, women want to climb into his tights. Everybody wins.
In any case, TDK managed to rake in money, critical accolades and massive amounts of Internet fanboy-ism. It's the film that has proven to Hollywood that movies like The Fantastic Four do not need to be made any longer. Serious, dramatic adaptations of serious, dramatic books can actually be profitable.
Hear that, you snobby execs? We don't want crap! When a writer makes a book about a grown man who dresses as a flying rat and then leaps about punching effeminate clowns in the face, by golly, we want you to take that shit seriously!
When you do, you get a movie like TDK, which brings together mainstream bucks with fanboy fervor. It's a perfect situation for a franchise movie. It satisfied just about everybody, created an installed fan base for the next Batman movie and created a mini-cult around the dearly departed Ledger.
I mean, what else beside organized religion could possible produce something like this?