"Watchmen" on track to Hollywood’s first blockbuster this year

March 8, 2009

Warner Bros.’ “Watchmen,” a superhero action film adapted from a graphic novel, is expected to become Hollywood’s first major blockbuster of the year with “impressive” results, an industry analyst said Saturday.

Cast member Malin Akerman attends the premiere of the movie “Watchmen” at the Grauman’s Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California March 2, 2009. The movie opens in the U.S. March 6.

“Watchmen” has already sold an estimated 29.7 million dollars in tickets at Thursday night midnight previews and Friday showings, according to Paul Degarabedian, president of the Los Angeles-based box office tracking firm Media By Numbers.

The film, about flawed heroes in New York, officially opened Friday in a total of 3,611 theaters in North America, the widest release ever for an R-rated film, after it played more than 1,600 locations starting Thursday midnight.

It is directed by Zack Synder, whose previous film “300,” also an adaptation of a graphic novel, set the record for best March opening ever with nearly 71 million dollars in its first weekend two years ago, Degarabedian said.

Like “300,” “Watchmen” is a truly unique movie-going experience, while its soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission with songs from pop music legends like Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, NatKing Cole and Bob Dylan sprinkled throughout the movie, he added.

Distribution officials of Warner Bros. have said that Watchmen “wasn’t a tough sell with theater owners after the phenomenal box office success of “300″ two years ago.  


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