James Bond’s latest outing, “Spectre,” has opened with a potent $5.25 million in Thursday night preview showings at 3,221 locations in the U.S.
The shows, which started at 7 p.m., generated 14% more business that the $4.6 million in Thursday night previews for “Skyfall” in 2012.
“Spectre” is exptected to post robust numbers when it debuts in 3,929 domestic locations Friday with recent estimates in the $80 million range stateside. Sony, which is distributing the film, is being more conservative and pegging the figure in the mid-$60 million range.
The opening weekend will likely fall short of the $88.4 million debut of “Skyfall,” which benefited from being the only new wide release during its first weekend in theaters. “Skyfall” was by far the top performer in franchise history with $304 million domestically and $804 million internationally.
“Spectre” carries a price tag of $250 million, plus more than $100 million in marketing and promotion costs. Industry executives predict that the picture will have to do $650 million worldwide to break even.
“Spectre,” produced by Sony, MGM and EON, is the 24th Bond pic and the fourth with Daniel Craig starring as 007. It’s launching in 60 international markets this weekend after grossing $63 million in its first week in the U.K.
“Spectre” faces solid competition in the U.S. from Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie,” which didn’t screen Thursday night previews. The adaptation of the popular Charles Shultz comic strip is on pace to open in the mid-$40 million range when it kicks off across 3,897 locations.
The strength of the two new films should goose ticket sales after a disappointing period for multiplexes in which “Steve Jobs,” “Burnt,” “Our Brand is Crisis” and “The Last Witch Hunter” have underperformed.