How big is Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith going to be? Pretty darn massive, considering the film's 2,900 screenings just after 12:00 a.m. Thursday raked in a hefty $16.5 million, more money than its nearest competitor, Monster-in-Law, is expected to draw all weekend.
While one-day estimates for Sith won't be available until Friday afternoon, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracking service Exhibitor relations, told Reuters that the midnight tally ''portends a huge opening day number. I think the sky's the limit right now.''
Sith's only true rivals this weekend are the ghosts of box office past: To date, Shrek 2 is the reigning one-day box office champ with $44.8 million on day 4 of its run, while Spider-Man 2's $40.4 million is the largest opening day in box office history. One film Sith is already outpacing is its predecessor in the Star Wars saga, Attack of the Clones, which drew only $6.2 million in midnight receipts, on its way to a $30.1 million opening day.
Sith, the final installment of George Lucas' six-part series, will expand to 3,661 screens for the remainder of the weekend. Costumes optional.