"The Dark Knight Rises" opening weekend could be historic. That's the report from THR.com, which notes that tracking for Christopher Nolan's Batman finale already has the film pegged to potentially have the second-biggest debut of all time, behind only "Marvel's The Avengers." That jibes with what the Los Angeles Times reported last week.

Right now, "The Dark Knight Rises" is on course to gross just under the $207.4 million that "The Avengers" earned during its opening weekend in May. Of course, even if "Dark Knight Rises" doesn't defeat "The Avengers," the film will still hold plenty of slots in the record book: "The Dark Knight Rises" should top "The Dark Knight's" opening weekend haul of $158.4 million, which would give it the biggest start ever for a 2D film.

About that dimension: Both "Marvel's The Avengers" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," the two films ahead of "The Dark Knight" on the list of best opening weekends ever, were offered in 3D; like "The Dark Knight," Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" is only in 2D. That, coupled with the fact that "Dark Knight Rises" will run nearly 21 minutes longer than "The Avengers," would make its massive opening weekend gross even more impressive.

With less than two weeks remaining until its release, "The Dark Knight Rises" hype machine is in full gear. Some critics and journalists were shown the film last week, and there were reports of standing ovations and Oscar chatter. Additionally, Warner Bros. released a 13-minute featurette on the film to stoke fan interest. Not that they need to worry, judging from the tracking.

For more on "The Dark Knight Rises" pre-release box office tracking, head over to THR.com.

[via THR]

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