Frank Masi
Joshua Rich
July 02, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

By the time Will Smith’s Hancock opened on Wednesday, it was already a box-office superhero. The film earned $6.8 mil in Tuesday-evening preview screenings, which started at 7 p.m. in 3,680 theaters. That sum is better than the $5.5 mil that Iron Man brought in during its Thursday preview run earlier this summer, but it’s smaller than the $8.8 mil that last summer’s big July 4th movie, Transformers, earned in its advance showings. Iron Man went on to gross $98.6 mil during its three-day opening weekend, while Transformers tallied a whopping $155.4 mil over the course of its first five-and-a-half days of release.

On Wednesday, Hancock officially debuted in 3,965 venues, and it will be the only major new movie to play through the Independence Day weekend. Most pundits expect Hancock to do as well or better than Transformers did in its debut. Check out EW.com’s Box Office Preview on Friday for our take.

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