‘Batman’ flies to No. 1

Audiences welcomed the Bat back to screens with solid, if not dazzling, returns. Warner Bros. reported “Batman Begins,” the first installment in the Caped Crusader franchise in eight years, grossed $46.9 million over the weekend, accumulating $71.1 million since its Wednesday launch. The softer-than-expected “Batman Begins” domestic bow could contribute to the 17th straight weekend in which the frame’s total biz trailed last year’s figures. If so, this year’s weak streak would shares the record with 1985 for the longest series of down weekends. However, with less than $4 million separating the frame from last year, the streak could snap when studios issue their actual weekend box office tallies today. The weekend’s only other new entrant, Universal’s “The Perfect Man,” posted mediocre figures, collecting $5.5 million from 2,087 venues, which put the Hilary Duff movie in the No. 7 spot. While the Dark Knight attracted a mostly male audience, Fox’s female-driven action film “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” held well at $27.3 million in its second weekend, a moderate 46% dip, bringing its total to $98 million. Behind it in the No. 3 spot was DreamWorks toon “Madagascar,” which fetched $11.1 million in its fourth weekend, pushing its tally to $147.2 million. In the fourth spot was Fox’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” with $9.7 million, bringing the total on the sci-fi saga finale to $348 million. Paramount’s “The Longest Yard” rounded out the top five, with a $8 million showing in its fourth frame. The Adam Sandler football remake has grossed $131.9 million.

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