Batmania as 'The Dark Knight' opens

CHICAGO The movie has been playing to sellout audiences. Fans are expected to make The Dark Knight one of the top-selling movies in history. One of the biggest stars is the city of Chicago, which is transformed into Gotham City.

Hundreds of midnight showtimes sold out across the country, and Fandango predicted Friday will be the biggest ticket-selling day in company history. The movie is playing on 4,300 screens. The movie was Fandango's second best-selling movie in pre-sales -- "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" was No. 1 -- and made up 94 percent of this week's Fandango ticket sales.

Batman fans exiting showings at the Navy Pier IMAX theatre did not appear disappointed.

"I've been waiting for a year to see this," said Kathleen Hocking, Dark Knight fan.

Most wasn't the talk of Christian Bale, but the late Heath Ledger as the Joker.

"I was an extra in the film and that got me really hyped up about it, but then all the hype about Heath Ledger. It was awesome," said Shanna Vincent, Dark Knight fan.

The movie also features a stong cast, with Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. And director Christopher Nolan was the director of the enormously successful "Batman Begins."

"It was a darker Batman," said Tarik Clark, Dark Knight fan.

"Best movie I've seen since The Godfather. Unbelievable," said Rick Alajjouri, Dark Knight fan.

Fans say Dark Knight had lots of action along with plot twists and turns that had one 8-year-old on the edge of his seat watching his favorite villain, the Joker.

"He gets his coat out and has string of grenades and says 'Here's my card' and runs out the door," said Julius Batista, Dark Knight fan.

The movie also captured the city's attention because many Chicago landmarks became part of Gotham City.

The film also combines the 35mm format with the IMAX appearance.

"I noticed going back and forth, 35 millimeter to IMAX, but it was so slight," said Melanie Davis, Dark Knight fan.

"There's a lot of preparation. They spent weeks just on the hospital explosion and that was only a few minutes of the film. I mean, it was phenomenal," said Edwin Hast, Dark Knight film crew.

Tickets at the Navy Pier IMAX screenings are sold out until at least Tuesday, though the film is going to be there through Labor Day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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