Friday Report: ‘Night at the Museum’ Takes Lead Over ‘Terminator’
by Brandon Gray
May 23, 2009
On Friday, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian drew an estimated $15.3 million on approximately 7,000 screens at 4,096 venues to lead the day, and it's a lock to top Memorial Day weekend as a whole. The start was a bit higher than Night at the Museum's first day, which came in at $12.1 million on around 4,800 screens at 3,685 venues. However, that first movie opened at Christmastime, a period when box office isn't as concentrated on a single day as it is in May. In other words, a $12 million day near Christmas means more in the long run than a $15 million day in May. Battle of Smithsonian's opening day was also a tad lower than past Memorial opener Madagascar's, adjusted for ticket price inflation. Still, based on past comparable titles, the picture is on course for a four-day weekend haul in the vicinity of $66 million, a tally that the first movie took six days to pass.
In its second day, Terminator Salvation claimed an estimated $14.8 million on around 6,400 screens at 3,530 venues. That was a higher first Friday gross than the previous Terminator movies, but it trailed in the number of tickets sold: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines's first Friday would be the equivalent of $15.5 million today, while Terminator 2: Judgment Day's adjusts to over $19 million. Based on the patterns of past Memorial debuts, the highest that Terminator can climb is around $57 million for the four-day weekend, which would give it more than $70 million in five days. Unadjusted, Terminator 3 made $72.4 million in its first five and a half days.
Also opening, Dance Flick was the latest spoof to fall flat, grossing an estimated $3.9 million on around 2,600 screens at 2,450 venues. That wasn't much higher than Superhero Movie, and it's headed for a four-day weekend in the $14 million range.
Among holdovers, Angels & Demons slipped 63 percent to over $6 million, bringing its total to $66.2 million in eight days. Predecessor The Da Vinci Code tumbled 64 percent at the same point, though its tally was $112.7 million. Past similar titles indicate a $25 million plus four-day weekend for Angels & Demons.
Losing most of its IMAX runs to the Night at the Museum sequel, Star Trek was down 51 percent to an estimated $5.8 million, lifting its total to an excellent $167.4 million in eight days. It's the highest-grossing movie of May, and the new entries proved insufficient challengers. History points to a $28 million four-day weekend at its current pace, which would place it third for the weekend even though it was fourth on Friday.
• Grosses for Friday, May 22