By CHRISTINA ALMEIDA, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 2 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES – “X-Men: The Last Stand” stormed to an estimated $107 million three-day opening, the largest ever for Memorial Day weekend and the fourth-biggest in box office history.  Preliminary estimates were released Sunday for the third installment of the series featuring a cast of mutants with names like Storm (Halle Berry) Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn).

Halle Berry, Storm in the 'X-Men' film trilogy, waves to the audience of the  NBC 'Today' television program  in New York's Rockefeller Center, Friday morning May 26, 2006. She promoting ''X-Men: The Last Stand.'  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The 20th Century Fox film opened in 3,690 theaters and grossed a whopping $28,997 per theater.  “People had such a huge awareness of the movie that it just translated into these huge numbers,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The film benefited from a huge base of fans who had seen the first two “X-Men” films, plus great marketing and solid reviews, Dergarabedian said.  “This is what the summer is all about,” he said, adding the box office has rebounded well since last year’s slump. “With `Da Vinci Code’ doing better than anticipated … we could not be in a better position.”

Estimates for “The Da Vinci Code” over the start of the holiday weekend were not immediately available. That film, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard had a solid $77 million opener last weekend.

On the all-time list, “X-Men: The Last Stand” ranks behind only “Spider-Man,” “Star Wars: Episode III” and “Shrek 2” for opening weekend gross. None of the other films opened on a holiday weekend, which usually gives movies a boost.

For Memorial Day openers, “X-Men” crushed the previous three-day high of $72 million, set by “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” in 1997.

Final box-office figures were expected Monday.


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