'Terminator Salvation' opens strong

Memorial Day weekend tally projected at $70 million

The witching hour was anything but a horror show for "Terminator Salvation."

Warner Bros. unspooled the sci-fi-actioner -- the fourth "Terminator" pic and first in almost six years -- in 3,450 theaters Thursday, with thousands programming midnight Wednesday performances for the Sam Worthington-Christian Bale starrer. Data on total Thursday coin won't be in until Friday, but early estimates suggested that "Salvation" midnight performances alone fetched more than $3 million domestically.

Though not a record, the sum serves as the first hard evidence of a potent fan base for the pic. "Salvation" is touted to do $70 million or more over its first five days in release, a projection based on an anticipated big Thursday tally and robust business expected during the always-lucrative long Memorial Day weekend.

Sony is handling the lion's share of international distribution on "Salvation," which will see most of its foreign debuts in two weeks.

Also Friday, Fox bows its action-comedy sequel "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" in 4,096 locations. And Paramount unspools the Wayans brothers spoof "Dance Flick" with some 2,300 playdates.