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"Terminator Salvation" opens strong

 Actor Christian Bale is shown in a scene from
Actor Christian Bale is shown in a scene from 'Terminator Salvation' in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters May 20, 2009. True to his catchphrase 'I'll be back,' California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did make a brief cameo, even though he never set foot on the movie's set. Through computer-generated special effects, his fearsome visage was taken from a previous movie and superimposed on a deadly Terminator robot. REUTERS/Richard Foreman/Warner Bros Pictures/Handout
— image credit: Reuters

By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The witching hour was anything but a horror show for "Terminator Salvation."

Warner Bros. unspooled the sci-fi-action feature -- the fourth "Terminator" movie and the first in almost six years -- in 3,450 theaters Thursday, with thousands of the venues programing midnight Wednesday performances for the Sam Worthington/Christian Bale-starring film.

Data on the picture's total Thursday coin won't be in until Friday, but early estimates suggested that "Salvation" midnight performances alone fetched more than $3 million domestically.

Though not a record, the sum serves as the first hard evidence of a potent fan base for the film. "Salvation" is touted to do $70 million or more over its first five days in release, a projection based on an anticipated big Thursday tally and robust business expected during the always lucrative Memorial Day weekend.

Sony Pictures is handling the lion's share of international distribution for "Salvation," which will see most of its foreign debuts in two weeks.

On Friday, 20th Century Fox bows its action-comedy sequel "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" in 4,096 locations. And Paramount unspools the Wayans brothers' spoof "Dance Flick" with some 2,300 playdates.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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