Friday ‘Battle’ goes to ‘Museum,’ can ‘Terminator’ win the weekend war?

05.23.09 9 years ago

20th Century Fox

The Memorial Day weekend box office winner is quickly becoming apparent. Friday’s box office results found the opening day of “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” coming in first place with $15.3 million, edging out “Terminator: Salvation” which pulled approximately $14.9 million in its second day. 

Considering that “Night” should flourish throughout the weekend with families, it’s incredibly difficult to see “Terminator” winning the weekend.  In fact, “Night” should have a higher overall cum than the McG action flick by the time the holiday break is over.  By the end of the frame, the “Night” sequel could have anywhere between $65-70 million in its coffers. “Terminator,” on the other hand, will be happy to reach an overall cum of $65 million.

While “Terminator” has touch competition lining up, “Night” doesn’t have it that easy either. The Ben Stiller comedy will have to compete for families with Disney’s already critically acclaimed “UP” next weekend.  Two weeks later it has the Will Ferrell’s kid friendly “Land of the Lost” entering the fray.  Clearly, it will be difficult for “Night” to come anywhere close to the original’s massive $250 million domestic take.  Marketing may have been the key here. The campaign was hampered by last minute effect shots being integrated into TV spots, but also any compelling theme that made this picture seem any different than the first. 

“Terminator” has less competition over the next two weeks, but at this point, financier The Halcyon Company will be happy to reach “T3: Rise of the Machine’s” $150 million domestic take and instead hope for a bountiful international run.  Tracking pegged the movie as opening bigger than it has, so the results of this one will be waxed over by Warner Bros. and its competitors for some time.

In somewhat of a surprise, “Angels & Demons” came in third with $6 million, narrowly beating “Star Trek” with $5.7.  “Trek” is slowing down as its core audience of families and men head to the weekend’s new releases, but “Angels” is seemingly benefiting from the older adult moviegoers who usually wait till the second or third weekend to catch their must-see pictures.  Needless to say, it’s close enough that “Trek” could till come in third for the weekend, but both are looking at around $25-30 million max.

The film’s other wide release, “Dance Flick,” opened with $3.9 million.  The Wayans Brothers spoof could end up with $14-16 million for the four day weekend depending on word of mouth.

Below are the top ten results for Friday according to Box Office Mojo.  Look for continuing daily results over the holiday weekend on HitFix.

1. “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” $15.3 million

2. “Terminator: Salvation,” 14.9 million, $28.2 million to date.

3. “Angels & Demons,” $6 million, $66.1 million to date.

4. “Star Trek,” $5.7 million, $167 million to date.

5. “Dance Flick,” $3.9 million

6. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” $2.1 million, $157 million to date.

7. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” $1.1 million, $43 million to date.

8. “Obsessed,” $575,000, $64 million to date.

9. “Monsters vs. Aliens,” $280,000, $191 million to date.

10. “17 Again,” $270,000, $59 million to date.

What did you think of “Museum” or “Terminator”?  Share your thoughts below.

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