The figure comes from the-numbers.com, a website devoted to tracking movie box office data, and is based on estimates from Exhibitor Relations as well as movie distributors. (A competing website, boxofficemojo.com, reported the first day's gross for "Rent" to be $4.85 million.)
Chris Columbus's film adaptation of Jonathan Larson's 1996 Pulitzer-winning musical opened in wide release - 2,433 screens - in the lucrative but highly competitive Thanksgiving weekend. According to the-numbers.com, "Rent" was the second-highest grossing movie on Nov. 23, bested only by "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which earned $14.4 million on 3,858 screens. Another holdover from the previous week, the Johnny Cash biopic, "Walk the Line," came in third with $3.3 million on 3,116 screens.
"Rent" was the highest-debuting movie of the week, far surpassing opening day grosses for "Yours, Mine and Ours" ($3.3 million), "Just Friends" ($2.0 million) and "In the Mix" ($1.0 million.) "Rent"'s tally was likely bolstered by Tuesday midnight showings of the movie in select cities and first day turnout by hardcore fans of the stage musical. Prior to opening, "Rent" had been tracking solidly with young female moviegoers, with industry estimates that it will gross $20-25 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. The movie reportedly cost $50 million to produce and over $25 million to market.
In an example of how the movie industry dwarves Broadway in audience scope, with "Rent"'s $5.3 milllion opening day take and U.S. movie tickets pegged at an average price of $6.42 in 2005, more people (over 800,000) saw "Rent" in movie form in one day than saw Rent onstage at Broadway's 1181-seat Nederlander theatre in over a year and a half of sold-out performances.
"Rent," which features a screenplay by director Columbus and Stephen Chbosky, reunites most of the original Broadway cast, including Anthony Rapp (as Mark Cohen), Adam Pascal (as Roger Davis), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (as Angel Schunard), Jesse L. Martin (as Thomas B. "Thom" Collins), Idina Menzel (as Maureen Johnson) and Taye Diggs (as Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III). Newcomers to the company include film actress Rosario Dawson as Mimi with Tracie Thoms as Joanne Jefferson. (The roles of Mimi and Joanne were created on Broadway by, respectively, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker.) Rent updates Puccini's La Boheme to the East Village near the end of the millennium, with artists and lovers struggling to connect in a world that is chaotic, shallow and tinged with disease. The late Larson wrote Rent's book, music and lyrics. The 1996 Tony and Pulitzer Prize- winning musical continues at the Nederlander Theatre in New York City.
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