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This Easter weekend marks the release of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One and a grand cinematic Easter egg hunt. The adventure film and celebration of pop culture is officially in theaters today, but got a head start on the race with preview screenings starting at 7 p.m. last night. Despite this middle of the week debut, Ready Player One still managed to take in $3.75 million from the preview screenings.
Ready Player One has been tracking to make between $45 million and $55 million over its opening four-day weekend and should easily claim the top spot that Pacific Rim Uprising usurped from Black Panther last weekend. As far as how these preview screenings stack up to previous Steven Spielberg releases is tougher to say. As Deadline notes, it's the first sort of Spielberg adventure of this scale since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is the director's highest domestic win to date. In the decade since then Steven Spielberg has mostly done smaller, more prestige fare that doesn't necessitate preview screenings and blockbuster buzz. As far as comparable preview screenings over the same period, 2013's G.I. Joe: Retaliation earned $2.6 million in its Wednesday previews going on to pull in $51 million over its four-day Easter run.
Steven Spielberg's last genre film was The BFG, which also enjoyed a four-day opening weekend, only made $775K in preview screenings before going on to a dismal $55.4 million domestic total. Ready Player One will obviously do much better than that film, but as you should be able to tell from the trailers, this thing wasn't cheap. The film cost somewhere between $155 million to $175 million, meaning it will really have to perform in order to become a success. Ready Player One is opening worldwide this weekend, with the exceptions of Germany and Japan, and it's predicated the movie should take in between $140 million to $170 million globally in its debut.
Ready Player One does have a few things working for it heading into this weekend. This is the kind of film that audiences may be willing to pay the extra for a more premium presentation like 3D, IMAX, etc. The Easter holiday also means that more people are off work and school and that gives the film more of an opening weekend to work with. While the holiday will no doubt drive some audiences to Paul, Apostle of Christ or God's Not Dead: A Light In Darkness, I imagine a lot of families will want to venture out for this grand adventure film. Ready Player One heads into this weekend with positive reviews overall, it currently sits at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is not being universally praised the way some of Spielberg's films are.
You're going to need at least three viewings and probably a pause option to catch all the references packed into this love letter to pop culture. You can get started on the hunt as Ready Player One is in theaters now. Check out our take on whether or not you should see the film in 3D and for all the latest box office news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.