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Watchmen Takes Weekend With Strong Debut

watchmensmiley-030809According to studio estimates, Warner Brothers adaptation of the Alan Moore comic/graphic novel Watchmen pulled in a very respectable $55.7 million this weekend.  The film took in $25.14 million on Friday, dropped to $19 million on Saturday and is expected to pull in another $11.52 million through tonight (Sunday).

Now, it’s true that the movie failed to match Snyder’s last, 300 (which grossed a March record $70.9 million in 2007) and WB had reportedly been hoping for $60 million or so, but this performance is still very impressive.

That’s all especially true when you factor in the age and difficulty in adapting the source material to the big screen with care, the fact that this is not a sequel of any kind and most especially the R-Rating and very long length (2 hours and 43 minutes).  It’ll be very interesting to see where the movie lands in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt that the long length limited its opening weekend performance even though it played in 3,611 theaters, a record for an R-Rated film.  Then again, it’s total screen count of 7,500 is no where near a record–again, this is all due to the film’s long length.

Looking a bit more on the positive angle, while some may feel the movie’s total gross was a little on the disappointing side, there should be no disappointment with the IMAX folks.  Playing at 124 IMAX theaters (~3% of its total theater account), Watchmen drew an impressive $5.5 million (~$44,000 per theater average) of its business from the large-screen format, accounting for a hefty 10 or so percent of its overall weekend gross.  In fact, it was the second-largest IMAX launch ever behind The Dark Knight which took in $6.3 million at 94 sites (accounting for just a little under 4% of its total gross) and unlike Watchmen had 24-hour showings to help boost its gross:

“This solidifies in our mind that we’re the choice for the fan boys, and we love having them,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of Filmed Entertainment for IMAX

Source: Box Office Mojo