Sunday, March 08, 2009

All eyes on 'Watchmen's' box office: $25.1M opening day

The big-screen adaptation of DC Comics' "Watchmen" failed to set opening Friday records but still had a strong initial showing at the box office. The Zack Snyder-directed film brought in an estimated $25.1 million on Friday, according to trade reports.

Variety writes that "Watchmen" had one of the best opening days ever for an R-rated film, behind Friday openings for "The Matrix Reloaded" and "300," another Synder-helmed picture. The second "Matrix" film had an opening day of $37.5 million and "300" pulled in $28.1 million, according to figures available on the website for Box Office Mojo. The R-rated "Passion of the Christ" had a massive opening day as well, roping in $26.6 million on a Wednesday, according to the site.

Overall, Box Office Mojo reports, "Watchmen" had the fifth-highest opening for an R-rated movie. "Sex and the City" had a summer opening just ahead of the numbers posted by "Passion of the Christ" at $26.8 million. Among only superhero movies, the site reports that "Watchmen" had the eighth-highest opening day.

In 2007, Snyder's "300" went on to gross $70.9 million in its first three days, and it eventually brought in more than $210 million in tickets in North America. In discussing the box-office potential of "Watchmen," The Times' John Horn noted that "Warner Bros. and partners Paramount Pictures and Legendary Pictures have invested about $150 million in making 'Watchmen' -- more than twice the $64-million budget of '300.' "

"Watchmen," however, had a stellar showing in its Friday midnight shows. The film opened with a $4.55-million take, ahead of recent midnight openings of franchise films such as "Quantum of Solace" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The midnight numbers are included in the $25.1 million.

Lionsgate's "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" maintained its second-place position, bringing in $2.5 million on Friday.

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