The teen tearjerker "If I Stay" grossed a studio-estimated $1.1 million in ticket sales from Thursday showings that started at 7 p.m. -- a solid start for the adaptation of the young-adult novel of the same name.
Featuring Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley as the love-struck teenagers, "If I Stay" is expected to gross roughly $25 million through Sunday in its domestic debut, though distributor Warner Bros. expects $20 million at the most.
Either result will almost certainly send the MGM and New Line Cinema co-production to the top of the box-office charts.
Fellow newcomers -- the sequel "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" and TriStar's faith-themed football flick "When the Game Stands Tall" -- also opened with Thursday night pre-shows.
The "Sin City" follow-up took in a softer $475,000. It is not expected to challenge "If I Stay" for the top spot, nor is it likely to come close to the opening of the original "Sin City" from 2005 ($29 million).
Meanwhile the high school pigskin production hauled in $425,000 from showings that began at 7 p.m. Analysts do not expect "When the Game Stands Tall" to break the $10-million mark in its opening, though it did top the Thursday night showing of the April football effort "Draft Day." That Kevin Costner movie did $350,000 in its pre-weekend runs, on its way to an opening of $9.78 million.
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