The unconventional superhero flick is already off to a great start thanks to midnight showings.

UPDATED: 'Watchmen' Mania Grows

on March 06, 2009 by Phil Contrino
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FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE (Part 2): According to Jeremy Devine, Director of Marketing for Rave Motion Picture Theatres, Watchmen topped Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Skull 's haul from midnight screenings at Rave theatres, and it finished with a little less than what Twilight delivered and half of what The Dark Knight did. Devine says that the midnight screenings were particularly well attended in college towns.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Watchmen has reportedly grossed $4.6 million already from midnight screenings. As of 9 a.m. PT, the film represents 92% of sales on Fandango.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: As of 4 p.m. PT Fandango is reporting 200 sold-out shows for Watchmen. The film still represents 91% of the ticketing site's overall sales.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: As of 9 a.m. PT, Watchmen accounts for 91% of Fandango's ticket sales. The site also conducted a poll of 2,800 respondents which revealed the following:

- 56% say that seeing the novel's characters realized on the big screen was the most important factor that prompted them to buy a ticket.
- 34% say they're unfamiliar with the cast, but they want to see the movie anyway
- 63% of audience had previously seen Dark Knight and 61% had seen Iron Man on the big screen last year.
- 83% of Watchmen ticket-buyers plan to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine in May, while 77% plan to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in July
- 96% believe there's room for even more comic book movies from Hollywood.


WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: As 3 p.m. ET, Watchmen has been responsible for 55% of sales on MovieTickets.com from March 1-4.

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: As of March 4 at 9 a.m. PT Watchmen is responsible for 90% of ticket sales on Fandango. Stay tuned...

TUESDAY UPDATE: As of Tuesday, March 3 at Noon PT, Watchmen is responsible for an impressive 68% of online ticket sales on Fandango. The ticketing site also conducted a poll of 1,053 moviegoers, which revealed the following:

- 65% have read the Watchmen graphic novel;
- 98% say the online Watchmen clips and trailers made them more excited to see the movie;
- 42% plan to see Watchmen with a group of friends;
- 68% are planning a get together before or after the movie;
- 86% had seen director Zack Snyder's previous movie, 300, on the big screen;
- 71% are male; 61% are 18-34.

Additionally, MovieTickets.com is reporting that is currently outpacing ticket sales for Snyder’s 2006 blockbuster 300 by more than 4-to-1 at the same point in the sales cycle.

“The true test for will be how it performs later this week,” said Joel Cohen, executive vice president and general manager for MovieTickets.com. “We sold more than 80 percent of our advance ticket sales for 300 the Wednesday and Thursday prior to its release. It will be interesting to see if Watchmen displays a similar pattern.”

300 opened to the tune of $70.8 million in 2006 ($77.6 million when adjusted for inflation) before wrapping up its domestic theatrical run with $210.6 million (around $230.8 million when adjusted for inflation).

Make sure to check back often for more updates.

MONDAY'S REPORT: Coming off the disappointing performance of Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience this past weekend, Watchmen is poised to resume the strong box office returns that many 2009 releases have been delivering.

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Early sales data for Watchmen on Fandango is strong. The graphic novel-turned-film has posted 61% of sales on the site as of Monday, March 2 at 11 a.m. PST, and dozens of midnight shows across the country are already sold out.

Fandango also conducted a poll of 1,000 moviegoers that are planning to see the film. The results as of Monday, March 2 at 11 a.m. PST are:

- 60% have read the Watchmen graphic novel;
- 85% say the online Watchmen clips and trailers made them more
excited to see the movie;
- 57% plan to see Watchmen with a group of friends;
- 71% are planning a get together before or after the movie;
- 85% had seen director Zack Snyder's previous movie, 300, on the
big screen
- 73% are male; 65% are 18-34.

While the fact that 73% of those polled are male comes as no surprise, Warner Bros. should be pleased by the fact that 60% have read the Watchmen graphic novel. If that number was higher, it would possibly indicate that the film is playing well among die-hard fans but not necessarily making new fans. Also, the fact that 85% of those polled were swayed by clips and trailers bodes well for how effective the marketing blitz behind the film has been.

According to Fandango, advance sales for Watchmen are "far outpacing" those for Snyder's 300 at the same point in the sales cycle. While that doesn't necessarily guarantee a stronger opening weekend, it does bode well for the film considering that 300 opened to the tune of $70.8 million in 2007 ($77.6 million when adjusted for inflation) before wrapping up its domestic theatrical run with $210.6 million (around $230.8 million when adjusted for inflation).

B OXOFFICE is currently predicting a $68 million opening weekend haul, although that number could change by Thursday.

Check back often for updated online sales data. Or, read our interview with Watchmen 's Matthew Goode here and our review here .

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