LOS ANGELES — Batman's joust with the Joker has set another box office record.
Stoked by fan fever over the manic performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, The Dark Knight set a one-day box office record with $66.4-million on opening day, Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., said Saturday.
The movie's Friday haul surpassed the previous record of $59.8-million set last year by Spider-Man 3. The Dark Knight might break the opening-weekend record of $151.1-million, also held by Spider-Man 3.
The Dark Knight began with a record $18.5-million from midnight screenings, topping the previous high of $16.9-million for Star Wars: Episode III — The Revenge of the Sith.
The opening day grosses for The Dark Knight far exceeded the full weekend haul of its predecessor, Batman Begins, which took in $48.7-million in its first three days in 2005.
Buzz had been high for the Batman sequel well before Ledger died of an accidental prescription-drug overdose in January. Trailers last fall revealing Ledger's demented Joker, with crooked clown makeup, turned up the heat even more.
The Dark Knight reunites Christian Bale as Batman, the vigilante crime-fighter tormented by personal tragedy, and co-stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman. Maggie Gyllenhaal also stars.