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The Dark Knight Hit At Box Office

Holy ticket sales, Batman!

With less than a week to opening, “The Dark Knight,” the sequel to “Batman Begins” featuring Heath Ledger’s final performance, has fans storming the box office.

“It is the fastest-selling movie in wide release for this year. It surpassed ticket sales for ‘Sex in the City,’ ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ in the same point in the films’ sale cycles,” said Harry Medved, spokesman for movie ticket distributor

Medved said “Dark Knight” accounts for 71 percent of all Fandango’s current ticket sales, “which is considerable figuring the movie hasn’t opened yet.”

According to a survey of 3,000 Fandango users, 53 percent say they want to see the film because of the late 28-year-old Aussie actor.

However, Charles Merzbacher, chairman of the film and television department in Boston University’s College of Communication, said Ledger’s death isn’t the only reason ticket buyers are flocking to the “Dark” side.

“It can contribute to ticket sales, but (Batman) is a very big franchise proven to be dependable,” Merzbacher said.

A star’s death can’t make a hit on its own, he said. “James Dean in ‘Giant,’ and Brandon Lee in ‘The Crow’ were equally successful. On the contrary, River Phoenix, after death his movies were not successful,” Merzbacher said.

Locally, tickets are still available for screenings at Regal Fenway Stadium 13 and AMC Loews Boston Common 19.

Fenway will screen the film in two 500-seat theaters at midnight Thursday and plans 10 showings Friday starting at 9 a.m.

Boston Common’s line-up includes two midnight screenings on Thursday and four showings on Friday.

Comcast IMAX 3D Theaters in Natick and Reading will have six screenings per day. Many of the opening weekend showtimes, begining at 9 a.m., have already sold out.

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