'Indiana Jones' uncovers $25 mil in first day

Midnight screenings kick in at least $4 mil

Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" thundered into theaters at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and whipped up an impressive, but far from record-breaking, $25 million in its first day of release, according to Nielsen EDI.

Paramount had no comment.

The much-anticipated return of the swashbuckling, wisecracking archaeologist was met with an estimated $4 million-$5 million worth of moviegoers at its first midnight screenings. The blockbuster then widened to 4,260 theaters nationwide (it opens on an additional 12,000 screens internationally).

Although on track to post strong worldwide returns, Spielberg's sequel is unlikely to beat the record five-day opening of buddy and "Indy" creator/executive producer George Lucas' "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," which bowed the weekend before Memorial Day in 2005 to $173 million, according to Nielsen EDI. ("Sith" also holds the record for the biggest Thursday opening, with $50 million on 600 fewer screens than "Indy.")