‘Code’ breaks $30 mil

Book fans flock to theaters despite bad buzz

Poor reviews didn’t scare off “The Da Vinci Code” fans as the adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel took in around $30 million in its opening Friday shows, according to industry estimates.

Sony, which bowed the pic at 3,735 North American theaters, will release its own estimate of weekend biz on Sunday morning.

If “Code” performs through the rest of the weekend like previous thrillers aimed at older adults, it could end up grossing between $80 million and $85 million for the three-day span.

A $30 million opening day may not set any records — there are ten other pics that have opened with $30 million or more — but it puts the pic in the class of other blockbusters such as “Star Wars: Episode I — Attack of the Clones” ($30.1 million), “X2: X-Men United” ($31.2 million), “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” ($32.3 million) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” ($34.5 million).

The record for an opening day is held by last year’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which grossed $50 million on its debut. Despite a flurry of bad notices after “Code’s” Cannes screening, tracking on the pic remained strong heading into the weekend. But readers who loved the novel still remained curious about the pic.

Online ticket-seller Fandango.com surveyed those buying tickets online and found that 88% of all buyers had read the book.

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