Paramount points out that overseas business is up in many markets, though, so that worldwide, the sequel is off to a better start.
"Because of the nature of the franchise, because of how many movies have been made and the various forms of the TV shows, I'm not sure that
goes by the rules of normal sequels. I think each movie stands on its own, because it's a unique franchise," said Don Harris, Paramount's head of distribution. "My goal was always that we grow the franchise. We're clearly seeing by today's numbers that the movie is being embraced on a worldwide basis in a way we've never seen before."
Harris said that domestically,
finished its first weekend 6% ahead of revenues for 2009's
, which got a headstart with $4 million in Thursday night previews to give it a $79.2 million haul through the first Sunday.
had a full day of screenings Thursday plus its Wednesday IMAX business. Unlike the first movie, which played only in 2-D, the sequel also had the benefit of 3-D screenings that cost a few dollars more. Yet even with the 3-D upcharge and the earlier debut, it came away with just $4.9 million more than its predecessor through Sunday.
Still, it's a solid starting place for the movie to live long and prosper at theaters, with Paramount hoping
can surpass the $385 million worldwide total of
"I think we're well along on that road," Harris said.