Moviegoers flocked to the multiplexes on Friday to see the much-anticipated thriller The Da Vinci Code which grossed an estimated $30.2M in its first day of release. The Ron Howard film generated the biggest opening day gross since the $39.8M first-day tally of another blockbuster based on a best-selling book - last November's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Da Vinci is now on course to gross more in its opening weekend than what the last films from Howard and Hanks collected over their entire runs. Last summer, Cinderella Man punched up $61.6M for the director while Hanks last starred in a live-action pic in 2004's The Terminal which took in $77M.
With intense upfront demand, The Da Vinci Code is likely to see its Friday take become a large percentage of its three-day tally. However, as an adult-skewing film, Saturday sales should be solid as well. For the Friday-to-Sunday period, Sony's religious thriller might collect $80-85M giving the summer season its first bonafide blockbuster hit.
Also debuting to strong results on Friday was the animated comedy Over the Hedge which captured an estimated $11.1M in its first day in theaters. The DreamWorks film opened a bit higher than the $10.7M opening day of last November's Disney toon Chicken Little which banked a $40M debut frame. For the weekend, Over the Hedge may find itself with $36-41M.
Horror fans spent an estimated $1.7M on the new fright flick See No Evil which should reach $4-5M for Lionsgate this weekend.
Among holdovers, Friday-to-Friday declines were 55% for Mission: Impossible III, 58% for Poseidon, and 44% for Just My Luck.
For NEW reviews of The Da Vinci Code and Over the Hedge, visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Sunday for the complete weekend box office report featuring official studio estimates.
Last Updated: May 20, 2006 at 1:15PM EDT
Written by Gitesh Pandya