Opening in 1,595 theaters, "Watchmen" scored $4.6 million from Midnight previews Thursday night according to Media By Numbers.  A strong, but not spectacular start for the R-rated thriller.  However, the Zack Snyder epic expands to 3,611 theaters, a record for an R-rated film, today. 

The picture also sold out all 124 midnight showings and some exhibitors added 3 AM shows.  For Snyder, the gross doubles the midnight box office for his last release, "300."  That action picture went on to gross $70.9 million in its opening weekend.

Many were predicting a similar $70 million gross for "Watchmen," but the three and a half hour running time may dampen those estimates.  Recent midnight openings such as "Twilight" and "The Dark Knight," did $7 million and $18.5 million respectively.  It's possible "Watchmen" will end up more in the $45-50 million range.

Look for updates on Friday's numbers tomorrow on HitFix.


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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.