The Dark Knight grossed considerably more than Warner Bros distribution chiefs originally thought at the weekend as actual results confirmed today [July 21] reveal the film set a three-day opening weekend record of $158.4m.

The Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures superhero sequel also broke records for Thursday midnight screenings ($18.5m), opening day Friday ($67.2m) and Sunday ($43.6m).

The film also set a new mark for a North American IMAX launch with $6.3m from 94 sites, which translates into a staggering $67,000 per-screen average.

Domestic success was complemented by a superb international launch that generated $41.3m from approximately 4,500 screens in 20 countries. The opening results from Australia, Mexico and Brazil almost tripled those of Batman Begins in the summer of 2005.

'We are delighted with this spectacular start and look forward to a long and successful run,' Warner Bros' president of international distribution Veronika Kwan-Rubinek said.

The film will continue to roll out internationally over the coming weeks including Italy on July 23, Holland on July 24, the UK on July 25, South Korea on August 7, Japan on August 9, Spain and France on August 13 and Germany on August 21.