(dpa) - Batman fought off The Mummy to claim the top perch of the US weekend box office for a third week, and appeared headed to record earnings with the dark tale that was actor Heath Ledger's last performance.
The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, garnered 43.8 million dollars in ticket sales at US and Canadian theatres.
Breathing close down Batman's neck was The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, starring Brendan Fraser, which opened in second place with 42.5 million dollars, box-office tracker Media By Numbers LLC said Sunday.
With total sales at 394.9 million dollars over three weeks, Dark Knight could challenge the all-time record of 600.8 million dollars held by Titanic in 1997.
"It certainly has a shot at 500 million dollars," Media By Numbers President Paul Dergarabedian told Bloomberg financial news service. "It's amazing we're even talking about it reaching the same numbers as 'Titanic.' That's a decade-long record."
Two other movies have jumped the 200 million dollar total - Will Smith's Hancock, with 216 million dollars after five weeks on the circuit, was in seventh place for the weekend, while the tale of a beloved robot seeking friendship, Wall-E, was in eighth place after a six-week 204.2-million-dollar box office take.
Will Ferrell's comedy Step Brothers held third place with 16.3 million dollars, the Abba film Mamma Mia was fourth with 13.1 million dollars, Journey to the Center of the Earth was fifth with 6.9 million dollars and Swing Vote with Kevin Costner debuted in sixth place with 6.3 million dollars.
Ninth and tenth place were claimed by The X-Files, with 3.4 million dollars, and Space Chimps with 2.8 million dollars.