‘Batman’ takes flight

Hoping to reverse the summer’s lackluster results, Warner Bros. is launching “Batman Begins” today in 3,718 theaters domestically and 71 territories worldwide. On Friday, the movie will expand to 3,858 locations in the widest-ever release for the studio. Buoyed by tracking that shows strong interest among a core male audience in the fifth film in Warner’s 16-year-old “Batman” franchise, distrib president Dan Fellman predicted, “This is the one where we’re going to see an uptick at the box office.” Industry expectations are for “Begins” — directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the masked avenger — to post the biggest opening of the franchise. That record is held by “Batman Forever,” which opened 10 years ago, nearly to the day, with $52.8 million.

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