Last July, predecessor Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest grabbed a then-record $55.8 million, which included about $9 million from midnight showings. Buena Vista estimated At World's End's midnight showings at $3 million (included in the $43 million), but initial demand was burnt off from Thursday night.
"We knew by putting shows early it would take away from the opening day," said Buena Vista's president of distribution Chuck Viane, ruling out the possibility of breaking Spider-Man 3's $151.1 million opening weekend record. "Today [Saturday] is the key to how we're going to do." Viane noted that At World's End's grade from CinemaScore, which polls opening night moviegoers, was an "A-," about the same as Dead Man's Chest.
"Seven theaters yesterday did over $100,000," Viane added and reported the top three: the Salt Lake City, Utah, area's Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons with $120,696 and Megaplex 20 at the District with $120,073, followed by Hollywood's Disney-owned El Capitan with $118,009. "You always see a Salt Lake theater around on a really big family movie, but I don't recall a Salt Lake theater being at the top, let alone the top two."
At World's End is still on track to deliver the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever. Last year's X-Men: The Last Stand is the current title holder with its $122.9 million four-day start. Dead Man's Chest drew $153.8 million in its first four days.
Overseas, At World's End pulled in an estimated $43.1 million from a global 102 territories on Friday, lifting its foreign cumulative to $84.2 million since Wednesday. Factor the domestic gross, and the worldwide tally stands at $141.2 million.
• 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Special Briefing
• CHART: All Time Single Days
• CHART: All Time Opening Days