While I am all in favor of major films doing advance IMAX-only releases, MGM and Sony's decision to open Skyfall a day early in IMAX makes the numbers a little tougher to analyze. For the record, the 23rd official James Bond adventure earned $2.2 million on Thursday playing in 463 IMAX engagements. The only real plausible comparison is Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol which opened five days early on 425 IMAX screens and earned $4.1 million on its first Friday of such play. In addition, Skyfall earned another $2.4 million in wide-release midnight showings (a large chunk of its 3,500 screens), bringing its gross to $4.6 million before 'regular business hours'. That extra day of IMAX-only play, along with the fact that Monday is a holiday for most schools and many businesses, makes the math a little more speculative, but no one said this is an exact science, so let's dive in!
As we all know, mega-anticipated/geek-slanted genre films tend to do around 4-7% of their Fri-Sun weekend business at midnight while less heavily-anticipated films generally do about 1.5-3%. Skyfall arguably represents a little of both, as it's indeed a heavily-anticipated sequel yet plays for older and more general audiences that are just as likely to wait until Friday night or Saturday night to catch it. So we're likely looking at around 4-5% of its weekend (Fri-Sun) take as of 12:01am. If we count the whole $4.6 million as 'midnight figures' (as we tend to do with advance-night showings which this most closely resembles), then a 5% midnight take gives Skyfall around $92 million. But $92 million when? Again, the quasi-holiday on Monday puts a token kink in the numbers, although a rudimentary look at past Veteran's Day openings (such as 2012 and Unstoppable) shows that the films still played like traditional Fri-Sun openers with relatively normal Sunday-to-Monday drops. So with that in mind, we should arguably treat Skyfall's opening weekend as a traditional Fri-Sun debut, only factoring in that extra $2.2 million in IMAX grosses as 'advance-night' numbers.
Thus, it stands to reason that Skyfall's "Friday-to-Sunday" numbers should equal between $92 million (5% earned via advance-day and midnight) and $115 million (4% earned via advance day and midnight earnings). Obviously we may have a decent idea of what's up in a several hours, but I do so enjoy the math.