Par's wild card tries to overcome tracking with word of mouth

Paramount’s ”Super 8” secured first last night with $12.2 million from 3,379 locations.

The sci-fi throwback represents somewhat of a wild card this weekend. Tracking services have pegged the film in the $22 million-$30 million range, which makes sense for a wide release without a pre-existing franchise pedigree. But Par is hoping for an uptick from positive word of mouth as the weekend progresses, which could push it over its low expectations relative to recent summer releases.

In an effort to increase awareness among auds under 25, the studio held Twitter-sponsored sneak screenings Thursday at 324 locations, which added an additional $1 million to ”Super 8′s” cume. However, despite these efforts, 71% of Friday’s audience was over 25, which the 1970s-set sci-fier was expected to play best to.

Last week’s winner ”X-Men: First Class” took second with $7.6 million from 3,692 theaters. Pic has cumed $81.5 million domestically so far. It is expected to earn another $25 million or so in its second frame given a drop off similar to that of the first ”X-Men” film.

Internationally, ”First Class” bows in 17 new markets this weekend, bringing its total to 55 overseas territories. Australia is the only territory ”Super 8” opens in day-and-date this weekend.

Warner Bros’ ”The Hangover Part II” came in third with $5.7 million from 3,675 venues, followed by Par’s ”Kung Fu Panda 2” with $4.6 million from 3,929. Disney’s ”Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” rounded out the top five with $3.1 million from 3,433 engagements.

This frame’s other major opener, Relativity’s kidpic ”Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” bowed to $2.2 million from 2,524 locations last night, putting it in seventh behind Universal’s ”Bridesmaids.” ”Judy Moody” is expected to pull in around $6 million this frame.

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