Box Office Report: 'Snow White and the Huntsman' Tops Friday With Strong $20.3 Million

Snow White in Battle
Universal Pictures

The trailers and photos that have been released to promote the film prove that it's going to be heavy on the action. Huntsman will be the first feature for Rupert Sanders, who is known for his action-heavy commercials.

The Universal tentpole -- earning a B CinemaScore -- will easily win the domestic box office race with a better-than-expected $55 million; Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" gets off to a stellar start in the U.K. with $3.4 million, handily beating "Snow White."

Universal's latest summer event pic Snow White and the Huntsman is overperforming in its domestic launch, grossing $20.3 million on Friday for a projected weekend opening north of $55 million.

If Snow White -- starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth -- stays on course, it will be the first of Hollywood's recent fairy tale re-tellings to work with moviegoers. The film also could mark a much-needed win for Universal after big-budget stumble Battleship and recent comedy miss The Five-Year Engagement.

Box office observers will be watching carefully to see whether Snow White's B CinemaScore affects word of mouth over the weekend.

PHOTOS: Snow White and the Huntsman Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth

Snow White wasn't a cheap proposition, costing at least $170 million to produce, excluding a eight-figure marketing spend. It also will need to do good business overseas, where it is opening in 45 markets this weekend.

Based on initial numbers, Universal is predicting a $39.3 million international opening for Snow White, higher than two other female-skewing properties, The Hunger Games ($38.7 million) and the first Twilight ($30 million). Snow White opened No. 1 in 30 of the markets, and is doing particularly well in Latin America and Asia, including placing No. 1 in Mexico with $1 million on Friday.

Snow White, however, is getting trounced in the U.K. by Ridley Scott's 3D sci-fi action tentpole Prometheus, which 20th Century Fox is opening in 15 foreign markets a week ahead of its June 8 North American launch.

Prometheus -- likewise headlining Theron, along with Noomi Replace and Michael Fassbender -- earned a stellar $3.4 million in the U.K. -- three times more than the $1 million taken in by Snow White, which earned at additional $1.7 million in previews earlier in the week. Both films are looking to take advantage of the four-day holiday weekend surrounding Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

Prometheus, which is performing especially well for an R-rated pic (in the U.K., it has the equivalent of a 15 rating), launched 124 percent ahead of Inception and scored the biggest opening day ever for Scott. As much as 76 percent of the film's earnings came from 3D, including 6.7 percent from two IMAX theaters, which reported sell-out shows and had to juggle both Prometheus and Men in Black 3.

Snow White hopes to have strong legs in the U.K. since it may not be as impacted by the male-skewing European soccer championships, which get underway June 8 (the games are a big reason why Prometheus went out early internationally).

Also making headlines Friday at the domestic box office was Disney and Marvel Studios' The Avengers, now the third-biggest of all time with a cume of $538.1 million, eclipsing the $533 million taken in by The Dark Knight.

At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom both continued to turn in strong performances, along with French blockbuster comedy The Intouchables, distributed by the Weinstein Co. However, TWC didn't fare as well with Dimenson Films' Piranha 3DD, which opened to $63,000 from 86 locations for a location average of $733.