‘Terminator’ Conquers Thursday

by Brandon Gray

May 22, 2009

In its Thursday opening, Terminator Salvation raked in $13.4 million on approximately 6,500 screens at 3,480 sites. The figure included an estimated $3 million from midnight showings. While solid, the sci-fi action sequel wasn't quite as robust out-of-gate as the last two Terminator movies in terms of attendance.

Six years ago, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines began with $12.4 million at 3,355 sites on its opening Wednesday (plus an additional $4 million from Tuesday evening previews). Adjusted for ticket price inflation, that would equal nearly $15 million today (and nearly $20 million including Tuesday). Terminator 2: Judgment Day started with a $9.3 million Wednesday at 2,274 sites back in 1991 (not including $2.4 million from Tuesday evening previews), which would equal nearly $16 million today, adjusted.

Comparable Thursday openings from the past are sparse for Terminator Salvation. The only other major picture to open on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last year. That revival of a dormant franchise grossed $25 million in its Thursday debut and then made $126.9 million over the four-day Memorial weekend. If Terminator follows a similar pattern, its four-day weekend would come in at close to $68 million. However, since Terminator's appeal isn't as broad or family-oriented as Indiana Jones, it may wind up with less.

Among other movies in the market, Star Trek was relatively unphased by the advent of Terminator Salvation. Trek pulled in nearly $3 million on Thursday, down four percent from Wednesday and 47 percent from last Thursday, and its two-week tally stands at $161.6 million. During the week, it surpassed Star Trek: First Contact to become the fifth biggest Star Trek movie, adjusted for ticket price inflation. On Wednesday, it even temporarily reclaimed the top spot from Angels & Demons. The Da Vinci Code sequel was then pushed down to third on Thursday, making $2.6 million and bringing its opening week haul to $60.1 million.

Related Chart
Grosses for Thursday, May 21

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New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 11/19 (35 tracked)
WEEKEND: Weekend Actuals, 'Fantastic Beasts 2' #1
DAILY: Friday, 'Fantastic Beasts 2' #1
WEEKLY: 'The Grinch' Tops the Week with $88.37m
DAILY: Thursday 11/15 (52 tracked)
DAILY: Wednesday, 11/14 (39 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 11/13 (37 tracked)