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Friday may be a dark night for Batman fans who don’t get to the movie theater early.

After smashing weekend box office records in the States, "The Dark Knight," the latest installment in the Batman franchise, is expected to draw huge ticket sales when it opens Friday at many Pacific military bases.

Some theaters are offering advance ticket sales, while others plan numerous weekend runs of the PG-13 flick, Christopher Nolan’s much-hyped follow-up to 2005’s "Batman Begins."

At Yongsan Garrison in South Korea, where tickets are free to most of the community, military police will be on hand to prevent unruly crowds, said Army and Air Force Exchange Service spokesman Master Sgt. Donovan Potter.

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning anyone not in the initial rush of 600 people will be out of luck, Potter said.

AAFES theaters won’t sell advance tickets, Potter said. For major blockbusters, movie-goers can expect the box office to open two hours before show time, he said.

Advance ticket promotions, like the one AAFES used for the initial showing of "Spiderman 3," are "a nightmare," Potter said, with ticket holders not showing up and large walk-in crowds waiting for a chance to get into the theater.

Navy Exchange theaters, however, are selling advance tickets at some locations.

At Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, for example, tickets went on sale Tuesday for multiple showings Friday night and Saturday at the Benny Decker Theater. An Information, Tours and Ticketing office spokeswoman said the agency can sell up to 600 tickets daily, through Friday at noon. Tickets are $3 for ages 12 an up; $2 for ages 6 to 11; and free for children 5 and under.

Cinema 77 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, also in the Tokyo area, is offering early ticket sales for the movie, which will play six times in seven days starting Friday.

Some Batman fans will have to wait beyond this weekend for a chance to see the caped crusader on the big screen.

In Japan, the movie opens Aug. 1 at Camp Zama, and Aug. 8 at Misawa Air Base.

With plans to catch the movie while on leave in the States, Dylan Bolander, 36, a staff sergeant at Misawa, said he expects the film to live up to its name.

"I’ve been a fan since the days of ‘The Dark Knight Returns" and ‘The Killing Joke,’" two dark and brooding comic books the latest movie is said to be based on, Bolander said.

Compared to the lighter-fare George Clooney and Val Kilmer Batman movies, "this is going to be awesome," he said.

Christian Bale returns as Batman in "The Dark Knight," while Heath Ledger plays the villainous Joker. It was his last completed picture before his death earlier this year at age 28.

The movie in its opening three days last weekend grossed $158.3 million nationwide, according to The New York Times. "Spider-Man 3" held the previous weekend box office sales mark with $151.1 million in 2007.

Winging in"The Dark Knight" opening and subsequent showings at bases in the Far East:

Japan

Misawa Air BaseAug. 8 – 7 p.m., 10 p.m.Aug. 9 – 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

Yokota Air BaseFriday – 7:30 p.m.Saturday – 7:30 p.m.Sunday – 7:30 p.m.Monday – 7 p.m.July 30 – 4 p.m.

Camp ZamaAug. 1 – 9 p.m.Aug. 8 – 6:30 p.m.

Yokosuka Naval BaseBenny Decker Theater:Friday – 5:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.Saturday – 9 a.m., 1 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.Fleet Theater:Sunday – 6 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Naval Air Facility AtsugiFriday – 6 p.m. (pre-sell); 9:30 p.m. (adults only)Saturday – 6 p.m. (pre-sell)Sunday – 4:30 p.m. (pre-sell)July 30 – 9:30 p.m. (adults only)July 31 – 7 p.m.

Okinawa

Camp CourtneyFriday – 6 p.m., 9:30 p.m.Aug. 6 – 7 p.m.Aug. 10 – 7 p.m

Camp Foster Sunday – 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m.July 31 – 7 p.m.Aug. 1 – 10 p.m.Aug. 15 – 7 p.m.Aug. 16 – 4 p.m., 7 p.m.Aug. 17 – 1 p.m.

Camp HansenMonday – 7 p.m.Tuesday – 7 p.m.

Camp KinserJuly 30 – 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

MCAS FutenmaSaturday – 4 p.m., 7 p.m.

South Korea

Yongsan GarrisonFriday — 5:30, 8:30 p.m.Saturday — 2, 5, 8 p.m.Sunday — 2, 5, 8.

Kunsan Air BaseFriday — 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.Saturday — 6, 8:30 p.m.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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