The preview figure — from 3,565 U.S. locations — is a near match to “X-Men: Days of Future Past’s” Thursday night debut of $8.1 million in 2014.
Fox’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” hauled five times more than the Thursday night total of Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” which opened with $1.5 million. “Alice’s” audience was 51% female, with the 26 to 34 demo leading the way with 31%, followed by the 17 to 25 group with 22% and the 35 to 49 segment with 19%.
The ninth entry in the “X-Men” superhero franchise is expected to win the Memorial Day weekend with early forecasts showing an $80 million-plus launch at 4,148 locations at the U.S. box office. Recent estimates indicate that “Alice Through the Looking Glass” will open with as much as $60 million over the four days.
“X-Men: Apocalypse,” the fourth “X-Men” movie directed by Bryan Singer, has an impressive legacy to follow during the Memorial Day holiday. His “X-Men: Days of Future Past” opened to $110.6 million two years ago, or nearly half the $231.4 million total box office for the weekend.
Prospects for the domestic launch of “X-Men: Apocalypse” have been bolstered by an impressive international opening week, with $130 million as of Wednesday.
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” should be a solid performer at 3,763 sites for Disney, even without a first-place finish. The studio has dominated 2016 moviegoing with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “The Jungle Book” and “Zootopia” so far.
The original “Alice in Wonderland” opened in March of 2010 to $116.1 million and went on to gross $334 million domestically and more than $1 billion worldwide. The sequel, which carries a $170 million price tag, is directed by “Flight of the Conchords” creator James Bobin and stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter.
Online ticketing site Fandango reported Thursday that advance ticket sales for “X-Men: Apocalypse” were in the same vicinity as “X-Men: Days of Future Past” while advance sales for “Alice Through the Looking Glass” were similar to Disney’s “Maleficent,” which grossed $69.4 million in its opening weekend.
Sony’s second weekend of “The Angry Birds Movie” and Disney-Marvel’s fourth frame of “Captain America: Civil War” will be battling for third with $20 million-plus each.
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens day-and-date across 72% of the international marketplace, including Italy, Germany, Spain, UK, Russia, Australia, China, Brazil and Mexico.