BATMAN film The Dark Knight is to be re-released in US cinemas in January, upping its chances of its box-office takings crossing the $1 billion mark. According to the tracking website Box Office Mojo, its current worldwide takings stand at $996m (678m). Meanwhile, the British star of the film has been commenting on its chances of winning Academy Awards next year. According to Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger and director Christopher Nolan should be in contention. "The serious contenders in this movie in my mind are Heath, Chris for director because he's done an extraordinary job, and I do believe best picture as well," said Bale on Wednesday. Released in cinemas in July, The Dark Knight is the most financially successful film of 2008 at the North American box office. Its re-release on 23 January will come one day after the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations. It also follows the film's DVD release in the UK and US next week. "We wanted to provide one more opportunity for moviegoers to experience it on the big screen as it was meant to be seen," said Dan Fellman, president of Warner Brothers' domestic distribution in the US. Only three films have grossed more than $1bn worldwide - Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Return of the King, the third Lord of the Rings film. - BBC