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3-Day Weekend Estimates: Museum Wins First Big Box Office Clash of Summer

May 24th, 2009

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian pulled off a close but decisive win over Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins over the weekend, according to 3-day studio estimates released on Sunday morning. Terminator took good momentum into the weekend, earning over $13 million in evening shows on Thursday, and finishing neck-and-neck with Smithsonian on Friday. But, with family audiences dominating on Saturday, and expected to do so again today and Monday, the weekend winner was already fairly clear.

If Night at the Museum 2's numbers hold up, its opening weekend will be comfortably ahead of the $30.4 million earned by the original Night at the Museum in December, 2006. This is fairly standard for a sequel, but will clearly be a source of some celebration for Fox. Warners, meanwhile, will also be happy that the first Arnie-free Terminator movie has opened at about the same raw-dollar figure as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Although the new release is slightly behind in ticket sales, once adjusted for inflation, it could still come close to its predecessor's total box office.

Overall, the weekend will fall slightly below last year's performance, which was dominated by the opening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For the year, 2009 remains comfortably in the lead.

The studios will release 4-day estimates tomorrow, and final numbers will be published on Tuesday.

Filed under: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Terminator Salvation