"Prometheus" lifted off with a solid $3.6 million at the box office before the sun rose Friday.
It's the best performance from screenings at midnight or soon after for a summer movie since "The Avengers," indicating that 20th Century Fox's science-fiction/horror picture is likely on its way to a healthy opening weekend.
"Prometheus," a sci-fi horror movie directed by Ridley Scott, had some advantages: As a follow-up of sorts to the director's 1979 classic "Alien," it has a rabid fan base who likely wanted to see the movie as soon as possible. Moreover, virtually every location playing the film late Thursday night offered it in 3-D or on a premium Imax screen, increasing its average ticket price.
The picture's take was more than double the $1.4 million that "Snow White and the Huntsman" gathered last week before going on to a $56.2-million opening weekend. Pre-weekend estimates based on audience surveys indicate that "Prometheus" is on track for a similar performance. It's projected to come in slightly behind Dreamworks Animation's sequel "Madagascar 3," which is sure to perform much better in matinees on Saturday and Sunday when parents take their children.