That brings the two-day haul to $51.5 million, or about the same amount that The Last Samurai has grossed after two weeks.
Though losing 50% may seem like a precipitous drop, it's common for a highly anticipated Wednesday opener, especially when late night preview screenings are involved. Both The Two Towers and The Fellowship of the Ring fell 47% each, and they had burnt off less of their audience with more modest midnight screenings than Return of the King. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace tumbled 56.9% on its second day to $12.3 million after its then Wednesday-record-breaking $28.5 million start.
The Two Towers took in $13.9 million on its second day for a $40.0 million two-day tally, while The Fellowship of the Ring earned $9.7 million and $27.9 million after two days.
Fellowship's Wednesday-Thursday gross accounted for 37.2% of the $75.1 million it made in its first five days, while Two Towers' was 39.2% of its $102.0 million five-day start.
If Return's pattern is similar, it could climb to around $121 million to $125 million by Sunday. That would stand as the fifth biggest 5-day bow of all time, behind The Matrix Reloaded's $144.4 million and Spider-Man's $135.8 million.
For the Friday-Saturday-Sunday frame, Return of the King looks to reap about $70 million to $74 million, breaking Two Towers's December opening weekend record of $62.0 million.
12/18 'Return of the King' Rakes in $57.6M Worldwide on Opening Day
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