Variety is reporting that Christopher Nolan will direct The Dark Knight, a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader and Heath Ledger as The Joker.  Nolan's brother Jonah is writing the screenplay based on a story concocted by Nolan and David Goyer.  Warner Bros. expects production to begin early in 2007, which would mean that the new Batman film would be ready for the summer of 2008, where it could face some formidable competition from films such as Marvel's Iron Man, the twenty-second James Bond film (both of which are already slated for May 2008 debuts), and the sequel to Disney's extremely successful Chronicles of Narnia, which is also likely to premiere during the 2008 summer season.


But based on the performance of Batman Begins, which earned $205 million domestically and another $166 million overseas, the new Batman film, which reunites director Nolan and the cast of Batman Begins, will be a major player whenever it is released.