Dark Knight, The: Batman’s Long Legs at Box-Office

Warner’s “The Dark Knight” continued to dominate the box office in its second Friday, taking in $23.1 million from 4,366 theaters, propelling its US gross toward $300 million.

With a 66% decline from its opening day, the current B.O. for Christopher Nolan’s superhero picture stands at $261.7 million. By Sunday, “Dark Knight” might break the record for a picture’s second weekend take. Among the highest grossing sophomore are “Shrek 2,” with $72.2 million.

In second place, Sony’s R-rated laffer “Step Brothers” headlining Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly reaped $11.7 million from 3,094 venues. The first day ranks as the second best among Ferrell’s collaboration with helmer Adam McKay, ranking behind the first Friday of 2006’s “Talladega Nights” ($18.1 million) and ahead of 2004’s “Anchorman” ($10.8 million).

Universal’s “Mamma Mia!” took a 44% dip from its opening a week ago, ringing up $5.5 million off 2,990 for third place. Its eight-day cume currently stands at $50.3 million.

“Dark Knight’s” continuing success had an effect on Fox’s “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” which placed fourth yesterday with $4 million from 3,185. The follow-up to the 1998 picture “X-Files: Fight the Future” is a failure, but it cost less than $30 million. In contrast, “Fight the Future” carried a production budget of $66 million and boasted an opening day of $12.2 million and a three-day take of $30.1 million.

New Line’s 3-D “Journey to the Center of the Earth” distributed by Warner, was fifth with $2.7 million from 2,688, a 25% decline, bringing its 15-day cume to $53.5 million.