The picture is expected to rake in about $20 million by the end of Thursday. By Sunday, those who have seen prerelease audience surveys say, "Into Darkness" is likely to have grossed a healthy sum of about $100 million.
That means that after two weeks at No. 1,
It will prove difficult to compare the opening of "Into Darkness" against the launch Abrams' 2009 "Star Trek," because the latter debuted at 7 p.m. on a Thursday. By weekend's end -- including those additional evening showings on Thursday -- the movie had sold $79.2 million worth of tickets. If projections are correct, the sequel will make slightly more than that during the same time period.
Because the original only made 33% of its $385.7 million global gross overseas, Paramount is also paying more to promote "Into Darkness" abroad. The studio has said it increased the sequel's international marketing budget by 35% from the first film, and rolled out the red carpet for the movie in seven different countries.
Early international returns indicate those efforts may be paying off. Last weekend, Paramount opened its latest "Trek" in seven foreign markets, including Britain, Mexico and Germany. In those countries, the sequel made about 70% more than the previous version did four years ago.
As of Wednesday, the current movie's international gross stood at $40 million. This weekend, the film will debut in an additional 33 new markets -- the biggest being Russia.
"Into Darkness" has
Abrams' first take on "Trek" received almost unanimously positive response from critics, notching a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel has also been well-received, but on Thursday lagged a bit behind the first, with an 87% score.