'Knight and Day' holds low but steady

Film drops 9% Thursday after middling Wednesday debut

As it works to attract good word-of-mouth, Fox's "Night and Day" took in $3.5 million on Thursday, its second day of release in 3,042 theaters.

The high-octane action romance, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and directed by James Mangold, opened Wednesday to a middling $3.8 million, which Fox attributed to the fact that the movie is courting a more adult audience that doesn't necessarily rush to the multiplex.

But while most Wednesday openings are typically followed by precipitous drop-offs on Thursday -- as less-motivated moviegoers wait for the weekend to begin -- "Knight" beat the odds, exhibiting an above-average hold, dropping by just 9%.

In contrast, the crime drama "Public Enemies," which opened on a Wednesday last July, bowed to $8.2 million, but then fell nearly 18% to $6.7 million on Thursday. The Michael Jackson documentary "This Is It," a more fan-driven example, opened on a Wednesday in October of last year to $7.4 million, but then plunged by nearly 50% to $3.8 million on Thursday.

Heading into the weekend, Fox is betting that the movie, which is drawn wildly divergent reviews, averaging out to a current approval rating of 52% on rottentomatoes.com, will pick up momentum as positive buzz spread.