July 16, 2008

Batman Ticket Sales Take Off in Wisconsin

By Sharif Durhams, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jul. 16--The Dark Knight has descended on Wisconsin.

Advance ticket sales for "The Dark Knight," the latest film in the Batman franchise, have been booming in the Milwaukee area, theater companies say.

Critical buzz for the film, which opens just after midnight Thursday, has grown for weeks.

Larry Widen, owner of the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse in Wauwatosa, said he started selling tickets for his 165-seat theater, as soon as he received permission for a midnight showing from film distributor Warner Brothers.

Midnight show tickets had sold out Monday, Widen said. This morning, he said he was about to close ticket sales for his 7 p.m. Friday screening.

During the first two minutes of a phone interview, two more ticket sales came in on Widen's computer.

"Every time I hear a ping on the computer, I look over to see what it is," he said.

Theaters are reporting similar sellouts across the country. Moviegoers haven't been lining up at the box office: Most ticket sales have been online.

Movie news Web site slashfilm.com reports "The Dark Knight" has sold out over 150 performances in Los Angeles and New York -- more than tripling the advance sales of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," and more than doubling ticket sales for "Spider-Man 3."

Marcus Theatres has scheduled midnight showings on nine screens at four theaters in the Milwaukee area. Company spokesman Carlo Petrick described advance sales as "very strong."

The midnight showing for the 70-foot screen at the Marcus Majestic in Brookfield has sold out, Petrick said. That theater holds about 500 seats.

"A lot of industry experts are picking the film, and now that the reviews are coming in, they're fantastic," he said.

"People who want to see it this weekend will have the opportunity," Petrick said.

Look for more "Dark Knight" coverage on Journal Sentinel film critic Duane Dudek's blog. And read Duane's review online Thursday.


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