‘T4’ Edges Out ‘Museum’ by $3 M

Both films in a race for number one on Monday.

Last Updated: May 24, 2009 @ 3:31 PM

Sunday Update:

The race for the top of Memorial Day weekend’s box office is turning into a squeaker. "Terminator Salvation’s" four-day total stands at $56.3 million while "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" is right on John Connor’s heels with a two-day total of $53.5 million.

 

The comedy’s two-day take already outdoes 2006’s "Night at the Museum’s" $42 million weekend debut. A Fox exec previously told TheWrap that the studio was expecting the sequel to hit the $42 million mark or slightly higher.

 

"T4" has also superseded its predecessor “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” which opened with $44 million in 2003.

 

"Star Trek" is firmly in the No. 3 spot with $22 million — a 49 percent drop in sales in its third week of release. "Angels & Demons" follows with  $21.4 million — a 53 percent drop in ticket sales from its debut weekend. The thriller has grossed $280 million worldwide in its first week of release.

 

"Dance Flick" rounds out the top 5 with $11 million. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" has exited the top five for the first time since it hit theaters. The mutant adventure grossed $7.8 million this weekend. 

 

Three-Day Weekend Estimates (from Hollywood.com)

"Terminator Salvation": $56.3 m

"Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian:" $53.5 m

"Star Trek": $22 m

"Angels & Demons": $21. 4 m

"Dance Flick": $11 m

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine": $7.8 m

"Ghosts of Girlfriends Past": $3.7 m

"Obsessed": $2 m

"Monsters vs. Aliens" : $1.3 m

"17 Again": $1 m

 

Saturday Update:

"Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" grossed a strong $15.3 million on Friday, according to Fox — an indication that the sequel can easily outdo the first "Museum" movie’s $42 million weekend debut.

 

Box-office frontrunner "Terminator: Salvation" added another $15 million on Friday, bringing its two day total to $28.7 million.

 

Ticket sales for last week’s box-office winner "Angels & Demons" fell 64 percent to $6 million. "Star Trek" grossed $5.9 million on Friday — a 50 percent drop from last week. "Dance Flick" premiered with with $3.9 million.

 

Friday Update:

 

"Terminator: Salvation" seems headed for an estimated $70 million for the holiday weekend. The McG reboot of the series took in $13.7 million on Thursday, including $3 million from Wednesday midnight showings.

It faces off on Friday against Ben Stiller’s "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," which is expected to bring in around $50 million over the weekend.

 

Thursday Update:

 

Midnight screenings of "Terminator: Salvation" took in an estimated $3 million.

Warner Bros. didn’t say how many theaters offered the midnight shows. The film will be going up against Fox’s "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" beginning Friday. 

 

Earlier:

 

The Terminator is — as promised — back.

 

This Memorial Day weekend, John Connor is out to clobber some stiff competition and perhaps even swipe “X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s” $85 million crown for best opening of 2009. 

 

The $200 million “Salvation” opens Wednesday at midnight in 3,500 theaters. MovieTickets.com reports that 322 screenings of “Salvation” have already sold out. The $150 million sequel to “Night at the Museum” should also do nicely by offering moviegoers an alternative to gritty robot-on-human violence. "Battle of the Smithsonian" lands in 4,000 theaters on Friday.

 

Given “Terminator’s” history and the box office’s upward momentum, it seems “Salvation” could hit $70 million by Sunday.

 

All of the previous “Terminator” movies opened at No. 1 in their respective weekends. “The Terminator” made $4 million on its opening weekend in October 1984, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” made $31.7 million on its opening weekend in July 1991 and 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” opened with $44 million.

 

But “Salvation” breaks away from its past in several ways. The first “Terminator” to be rated PG-13 instead of R., the fourth film is the only one that does not star Arnold Schwarzenegger or any of the stars from the previous installments. “Charlie’s Angels” director McG has also replaced James Cameron, the franchise creator and director of the first two, and “Terminator 3” director Jonathan Mostrow.

 

Fortunately for Warner Bros., the studio’s favorite son — Christian Bale — stars as Connor. Bale has certainly proven his earning power in “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins.” “Knight” became the fastest movie in history to gross over $200 million when it took in over $203 million worldwide during its five-day opening last summer. In February, it became the fourth movie to gross $1 billion worldwide.

 

“Museum,” with Ben Stiller returning, this time alongside Amy Adams, has a PG rating and is positioned to place not far behind “Salvation.”

 

But Fox senior VP Chris Aronson said the studio will be pleased if the sequel matches its predecessor “Night at the Museum’s” $42 million opening four-day take in December 2006.

 

“That’s a good mark to aspire to," he said. "If we can do more than that, that’s pretty sensational. Both will be successful because they’re going after different audiences.”

 

“Museum’s” number of IMAX screens could also give the comedy a leg up against “Salvation.” “Museum” will debut on 161 IMAX screens — a record for Fox — “Salvation” will also screen on IMAX.

 

“Star Trek” holds the record for the biggest debut gross on IMAX screens. with $8.2 million from 134 screens earlier this month. 

 

Also bowing is Paramount’s “Dance Flick,” a $25 million parody from the Wayans family opening in 2,450 domestic theaters on Friday.

 

The family’s “Scary Movie” films have made their mark as relatively inexpensive crowd-pleasers that reap remarkable box office. The four “Scary Movie” films have grossed $817 million worldwide and three of the four opened in the No. 1 spot — “Scary Movie 2” was No. 2 in its debut weekend in 2001.

 

Recent releases “Angels & Demons," “Trek” and "Wolverine" should also perform well amid a crowded holiday box office session. “Angels” landed a respectable $46 million domestic and impressive $155 million worldwide debut last weekend. “Trek” is proving its staying power, with ticket sales for J.J. Abrams’ pic falling only 43 percent last weekend. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” has been falling faster, but is remaining reasonably strong.

 

On the indie scene, Magnolia Pictures will debut Steven Soderbergh’s latest “The Girlfriend Experience” in 50 theaters.

 

Disney will debut “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story” in five theaters. The documentary profiles legendary songwriters Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman. 

 

Sony Classic’s will also unveil “Easy Virtue;” a period comedy starring Jessica Biel, Kristen Scott Thomas and Colin Firth; in New York and Los Angeles.