'Attack of the Clones' Thursday Actual: $30,141,417
by Brandon Gray
May 17, 2002
The Force was with Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones as it soared past its predecessor to score the third biggest opening day ever and the most business Thursday or any weekday for that matter has ever seen.
Attack of the Clones pulled in $30,141,417 from approximately 6,100 screens at 3,161 theaters, averaging a scorching $9,535 per site.
Benefiting from 16 years of pent-up demand, The Phantom Menace launched on Wednesday, May 19, 1999 to a then record $28,542,349, playing on around 5,500 screens at 2,970 theaters. It then dipped 57% to $12,307,918 on Thursday, leading to $64,810,970 over the Friday through Sunday session, the second biggest opening weekend ever at that point. It left theaters with $431,088,297, a total that stands as the fourth highest of all time.
Clones now looks like it's following the Star Wars tradition of each subsequent movie having a larger opening than its predecessor, despite early reports that it might not top Menace. However, it should be noted that Menace's opening day would equal close to $32 million today, adjusted for ticket price inflation.
Only Spider-Man's $39,406,872 and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone's $32,333,203 rank higher among opening days, and they had the benefit of being released on Fridays, a much busier day than Thursday. Not to mention, each played to the point of super-saturation. Spider-Man set its records at 3,615 theaters and an estimated 7,500 screens, averaging about $5,250 per print. Harry Potter had the widest release of all time, 3,672 theaters and 8,200 screens, averaging around $3,950 per print. By comparison, Clones mustered nearly $5,000 per print.
Bolstered by the Fourth of July holiday, Independence Day was the previous Thursday record holder, delivering $17,343,388 on July 4, 1996, following a $17,406,144 Wednesday and an $11,024,456 Tuesday night preview.
Among all days, Clones' bow stands as the seventh biggest of all time.
NOTE: This story is an update of 'Clones' Early Estimate