Sony’s “Men In Black 3” opened to $1.55 million at 2,223 midnight locations on Thursday night, as tracking predicts an opening of $80 million or more over the holiday weekend.
The studio is expecting the audience to grow into Memorial Day as kids push their families to the multiplexes and "The Avengers" out of the top spot.
The latest installment of the blockbuster franchise debuts a decade after “Men in Black 2” and four years since Will Smith’s last film. Critics have responded favorably to the film, especially as compared to "MIB 2."
The first “Men in Black” grossed $589 million worldwide with a budget of $90 million while the second one grossed $442 million from a budget of $140 million.
This time-traveling sequel has the budget of those two movies combined, but it also opens in 3D and Imax, which makes for higher ticket prices.
It takes over 4,248 screens this weekend, 278 of them Imax and 3,000 in 3D. “The Avengers” has seen a noticeable bump from 3D this summer, and Paramount just pushed its latest “G.I. Joe” movie to next year so that it could convert the film to 3D.
This will be a real test of Smith’s star power, since he is easily the most recognizable name to this movie's key demos -- in spite of his four-year screen absence. Smith's Agent J travels back in time to save the planet with Josh Brolin's Agent K, a 1960s version of Tommy Lee Jones character.