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).
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.