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''Sith'' earns a record-breaking $158 million

”Sith” earns a record-breaking $158 million — In its first weekend, the final installment in the ”Star Wars” saga shatters the records for highest single- and four-day totals

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Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Holy Sith, what a huge opening! Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith surpassed even the highest expectations and shattered box office records in its opening weekend, grossing $108.5 million over the Friday-to-Sunday weekend and an unbelievable $158.5 million since hitting theaters last Thursday, according to studio estimates.

From the first minute the final Star Wars installment began unspooling, at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, it was historic. In its first 24 hours, it grossed $50 million, becoming the only film ever to do so. Its four-day tally tops the previous record-holder, The Matrix Reloaded, which premiered with $134.3 million two years ago. It also blew away the four-day openings of the first two Star Wars prequels, which earned $105.7 million and $110.2 million, respectively. It was certainly helped by its larger theater count (it played in 3,661 theaters nationwide, compared with 3,161 for Attack of the Clones), but its per-theater average was also considerably higher than those of the other prequels. Sith also became only the third film to pass the $100 million mark in its third day of release, after Spider-Man and Reloaded. Plus, it grossed $144.7 million internationally, bringing its worldwide four-day total to an unheard-of $303.2 million.

Meanwhile, Monster-in-Law slipped 38 percent to second place with $14.4 million in its second weekend, followed by Kicking and Screaming, which fell 48 percent to $10.5 million. The ensemble drama Crash continued its strong hold, down only 22 percent to $5.5 million, while Unleashed plummeted 65 percent to $3.9 million. The Force apparently couldn’t be with everyone.