Credit: Kerry Brown

Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s big return to sci-fi, entered theaters last night with built-in excitement from the fanboy (and girl!) community — and that’s apparent from the box office.

According to Fox, the kinda-sorta-maybe Alien prequel earned $3.6 million from 1,368 theaters at midnight screenings. About $1 million of that came from 294 IMAX shows.

For reference, Snow White and the Huntsman, which opened to $56.2 million last weekend, started with $1.5 million at midnight. Immortals, the last R-rated thriller with substantial midnight showings, started with $1.4 million on its way to $32.2 million over three days. Inception, which targeted the same cinephile sci-fi crowd as Prometheus, earned $3 million at midnight and $62.8 million in its summer 2010 debut.

Because Prometheus does have a perceived connection to another franchise, there may be a little bit of sequel-effect front loading going on here, but it looks like the $130 million thriller is headed for an opening in the $50-60 million range. I predicted $56 million yesterday. Thus, unless Madagascar 3 roars louder than expected (and, to be clear, there’s a good chance that it will), the film has a good shot at winning the weekend.

Did you go see Prometheus at midnight? How much do you think it will earn this weekend?

For more box office coverage, follow me on Twitter: Follow @EWGradySmith

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