Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman attend soiree

Holy soiree, Warner Bros.! Monday’s Gotham City (no, not that one) preem of “The Dark Knight” jammed the pavement with rubberneckers on Broadway and 68th as stars and execs arrived at the Imax theater to watch the latest installment of the Caped Crusader’s adventures.

Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman led the way to the after-party at the Mandarin Oriental, where a spacious lounge appeared to have been defaced with red paint by the Joker.

Everyone spoke highly of the late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, including producer Chuck Roven and Warners prexy Alan Horn. Horn also spoke of the continued popularity of comicbook movies, which, he said, Warners will be trying to capitalize on in the near future.

On the recent success of competitor Marvel’s summer films, Horn was gracious: “Marvel deserves a lot of credit. They’ve proved to us that there’s an appetite, a big appetite, for this kind of stuff.”

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