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Box Office Analysis, May 23: "Star Wars III" Breaks Records

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May 23, 2005 | 6:37am EDT

The Sith did indeed get their Revenge.

George Lucas' final chapter of the Star Wars saga, Episode III-Revenge of the Sith, took in a $158.5 million total since its opening day Thursday to shatter three-day and four-day box office records.

With a whopping $50 million opening day total bolstered by eagerly anticipated midnight showings, the lightsaber actioner--in which we finally see young Anakin Skywalker turn towards the Dark Side to become Darth Vader--takes the record for the biggest opening day gross of all-time, beating Shrek 2, which opened last year with $44.7 million.

Revenge of the Sith grossed $124.7 million from Thursday to Saturday, according to studio estimates Sunday. That's higher than the three-day record set by the first Spider-Man, which took in $114.8 million in May 2002. Sith, however, had a lower Friday-Sunday take ($108.5 million) than the Tobey Maguire film. Sith's four-day receipts of $158.5 million also toppled the four-day $134.3 million record opening held by 2003's The Matrix Reloaded.

"The reaction to the movie is absolutely spectacular," Bruce Snyder, president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox told the Associated Press. "It's a very strong start to what will hopefully be a very strong summer," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations, added.

This weekend, the Top 12 films grossed an estimated $156 million, up 65.15 percent from last weekend's $94.4 million take but down 4.47 percent from this time last year's draw of $163.3 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: DreamWorks' PG-rated Shrek 2, which debuted big at No. 1 with $108 million in 4,163 theaters, averaging $25,952 per theater; Warner Bros. R-rated Troy, which dropped to second place in its second week with $23.9 million in 3,411 theaters, averaging $7,014 per theater; and Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated Van Helsing, which dropped to third place in its third week with $10.5 million in 3,418 theaters, averaging $3,090 per theater.

(This week's box office Top 10 below...)

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES:

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

Gross: $108.5 million

Weeks opened: NEW! (opened Thursday)

Theaters: 3,661

Per-theater average: $29,637

Cume to date: $158.5 million

No. 2: Monster-in-Law (New Line Cinema, PG-13)

Gross: $14.3 million (-38%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 3,424

Per-theater average: $4,191

Cume to date: $44.1 million

No. 3: Kicking & Screaming (Universal Pictures, PG)

Gross: $10.5 million (-48%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 3,470 (+15)

Per-theater average: $3,026

Cume to date: $34 million

No. 4: Crash (Lions Gate, R)

Gross: $5.5 million (-22%)

Weeks opened: 3

Theaters: 1,905 (+29)

Per-theater average: $2,887

Cume to date: $27.6 million

No. 5: Unleashed (Focus Features, R)

Gross: $3.8 million (-65%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 1,962 (+5)

Per-theater average: $1,957

Cume to date: $17.5 million

No. 6: Kingdom of Heaven (20th Century Fox, R)

Gross: $3.3 million (-65%)

Weeks opened: 3

Theaters: 2,808 (-411)

Per-theater average: $1,193

Cume to date: $41 million

No. 7: House of Wax (Warner Bros., R)

Gross: $3.1 million (-52%)

Weeks opened: 3

Theaters: 2,766 (-345)

Per-theater average: $1,142

Cume to date: $26.7 million

No. 8: The Interpreter (Universal, PG-13)

Gross: $2.8 million (-39%)

Weeks opened: 5

Theaters: 2,164 (-438)

Per-theater average: $1,294

Cume to date: $65.3 million

No. 9: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Buena Vista, PG)

Gross: $2 million (-60%)

Weeks opened: 4

Theaters: 2,211 (-559)

Per-theater average: $907

Cume to date: $46.8 million

No. 10: Mindhunters (Dimension, R)

Gross: $909,049 (-52%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 1,040 (unchanged)

Per-theater average: $874

Cume to date: $3.4 million

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