Christopher Nolan's space odyssey, starring Matthew McConaughey, took an early lead after Friday night, but was projected to finish behind Disney Animation's "Big Hero 6" after the Saturday family crowds rushed to theaters for the Marvel comics-based superhero film.
If "Interstellar's" estimates hold, this will be the fourth time that two movies have debuted at over $50 million domestically, following 2013's "World War Z" and "Monsters University," 2012's "Madagascar 3" and "Prometheus," and 2008's "Wall-E" and "Wanted." In an interesting match-up, both "Interstellar" and "Big Hero 6" carry $165 million production budgets.
Worldwide, "Interstellar" played in all major international markets, minus China and Japan, and earned $80 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It was also released two days earlier in select theaters that were equipped to show it on film, and earned an extra $2.2 million, not tallied to the $50 million weekend haul.
Disney Animation's winning weekend for "Big Hero 6" is stronger than their November opening for "Wreck-It Ralph" -- which earned $49 million -- but "Frozen" is still the month's winner for the animation studio. It earned $67.3 in its first wide-opening weekend, after an initial limited-release where it earned $243,390.
On this weekend last year, "Thor: The Dark World" had little competition and dominated the box office with a $85.7 million opening.