Moderate $17.4 Mill. Open for Hancock

Will Smith’s return to the 4th of July weekend might not be the wham-bam blockbuster hit originally projected as Sony’s superhero action flick Hancock opened with just $17.4 million on Wednesday after Tuesday night previews took in an additional $6.8 million.

It’s not a terrible opening. In fact, it’s in the Top 15 opening Wednesdays ever, surpassing the opening day for Warner Bros.’ Batman Begins three years ago. Then again, it’s just below the Wednesday opening of Will Smith’s breakout hit Independence Day twelve years ago and about a million lower than the opening day of Smith and Sony’s comedy sequel Men in Black II six years ago. A big difference is that with the 4th of July being on Friday this year, Hancock could follow the pattern of previous movies that opened on July 2, such as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, in which case much of the movie’s business will come on Friday and Saturday. Right now, we’re projecting a three-day opening of between $62 and 65 million, which would make it the third or fourth biggest three-day opening for the holiday weekend behind Spider-Man 3 and last year’s Transformers.

Check back on Sunday for the full holiday weekend box office report to see how Hancock fares.

Source: Box Office Mojo, Edward Douglas