Thursday boosts 'Terminator' to $13.3 million

Builds on $3 million midnight haul

“Terminator Salvation” has launched its opening mission audaciously.

Warner Bros. unspooled the fourth installment in “Terminator” scifi-action franchise with a solid $13.3 million in domestic boxoffice on Thursday.

The first-day haul included a $3 million-plus tally for thousands of midnight Wednesday performances. The Sam Worthington-Christian Bale starrer has been forecast for up to $70 million through the Monday holiday, as it goes up another tentpole debutante over the long Memorial Day frame – Fox’s family-oriented comedy “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”

“Smithsonian,” which unspools Friday, is projected to ring up $50 million or more through Monday. A third wide opener – Paramount’s urban-targeted spoof “Dance Flick,” from the Wayans brothers, is charted to register in the teen millions.

Paramount’s leggy scifi prequel “Star Trek” was second among Thursday top grossers, with $3 million and a $161.6 million cume. Sony’s literary-based thriller “Angels & Demons” was third, with its $2.6 million daily gross pushing domestic cume for the Tom Hanks starrer beyond $160 million.

The first-day tally for “Salvation” fell short of any significant record, but that could be the good news for Warners if it’s to outpace Fox’s big opener for weekend bragging rights. Weekend rankings will be based on Friday-Monday grosses, and some had suggested a huge Thursday gross might sap “Salvation” of sufficient boxoffice strength to grab No. 1 over the four-day frame.

Sony holds most of the international distribution rights on “Salvation,” which will open in the bulk of foreign territories in two weeks.
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