Many thought Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End wouldn't be able to open as wide as Spider-Man 3 did three weeks ago, considering that sequel and Shrek the Third are still playing in theaters. Wrong!
"At World's End" will open in 4,362 theaters domestically, 110 more than previous record-holder Spider-Man 3. Many theaters will start playing the film at 8 p.m. tonight and some will even run the movie 24 hours a day.
Released by Walt Disney Pictures, "At World's End" now aims to snatch back the record for best debut it lost this month to Spider-Man 3, the Sony Pictures blockbuster that pulled in $151.1 million over opening weekend.
That debut shattered last summer's record of $135.6 million set by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
The length of "At World's End" - two hours, 47 minutes - will be a hurdle, limiting the number of screenings theaters can fit in each day. The movie runs about 15 minutes longer than "Dead Man's Chest" and nearly half an hour longer than Spider-Man 3.
"At World's End" also faces stiffer competition than Spider-Man 3, which had no other big movies to contend with when it opened May 4. Besides Spidey, Shrek will also be competing with "At World's End" for audiences.
Along with the higher theater count, "At World's End" has the advantage of opening over the Memorial Day weekend, which should boost its Sunday grosses since moviegoers have the day off Monday.