Warner Bros.’ final installment of its Matrix trilogy opened Wednesday to $24.3 million at the domestic box office, the studio said Thursday. The Matrix Revolutions, which debuted simultaneously around the world, also earned $18.8 million internationally.
Although the figures are staggering, the film’s one-day total are far below what The Matrix Reloaded amassed in its nationwide debut in May 2002. Reloaded, which opened with a few late-night screenings on Wednesday evening and expanded to 3,600 theaters the following day, earned about $37.5 million.
But Warner Bros.’ president of distribution, Dan Fellman, was upbeat about Revolutions‘ figures. “It was a spectacular day at the box office,” he told Variety. “We were hoping to get to the $20 million mark.”
Revolutions‘s one-day take ranked it the third best Wednesday opening for a movie, behind $28.5 million for 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I–The Phantom Menace and $26.1 million for last year’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Movies usually open on Friday, drawing their biggest crowds on Saturday, but The Matrix Revolutions opened across 18,000 screens in 65 countries Wednesday to capitalize on the final part of the trilogy’s popularity and to ward off piracy.
Revolutions also debuted stateside yesterday across 60 IMAX screens, the first time a Hollywood blockbuster has been released simultaneously in 35mm and IMAX’s 15/70 formats.
According to Variety, Revolutions‘ five-day bow is expected to bring in more than $100 million, with a $200 million opening expected internationally.
In Australia, where Revolutions opened at 1 a.m. Thursday, it grossed $465,000 (U.S.) at 144 locations. European exhibitors, however, think the numbers will be high but not through the roof.
One German exec told Variety, “The general consensus is that the franchise was hurt by the cheesy Reloaded, which alienated core fans of the first pic, and Revolutions is not likely to bring them back.”
Reviews for the film, directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski and starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving, have been less than stellar. The review-compiling Web site Rotten Tomatoes found that of 116 reviews from critics, only 43 positive were positive.