Tom Hanks' "Inferno" has opened with a moderate $800,000 at 2,874 North American locations in Thursday night preview screenings.
Sony is eyeing a debut weekend of $20 million to $25 million when it opens on 3,576 locations. Rival studios have avoided launching on the pre-Halloween frame.
"Inferno" is the third adaptation of Dan Brown's series of books about symbologist Robert Langdon. Hanks and director Ron Howard previously partnered on "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons," which tickled fans of shadowy conspiracy yarns to the tune of $1.2 billion globally.
"Inferno" is pegged to open with only a third of the 2006 launch of "The Da Vinci Code" with $77.1 million and about half of the $46.2 million debut of "Angels & Demons'" in 2009. Both those films opened in the midst of summer blockbuster season. "Inferno" cost $75 million to produce, half of what the studio spent making "Angels & Demons."
See photos of Tom Hanks through the years:
Tom Hanks through the years
Tom Hanks through the years
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - 1986: Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks poses during a 1986 West Hollywood, California studio photo session to promote his newest movie 'The Money Pit.' Hanks went on to become one of America's favorite actors, starring in such hits as 'Big,' 'Saving Private Ryan,' and 'Forest Gump.' (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SPLASH (1984) TOM HANKS, JOHN CANDY SPL 004
YOU'VE GOT MAIL (1998) MEG RYAN, TOM HANKS YGML 093
THE GREEN MILE 1999 Castle Rock film with Tom Hanks
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 9: (US TABLOIDS OUT) Actor Tom Hanks appears on MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios November 9, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - JUNE 11: Actor Tom Hanks (L) appears on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' at the NBC Studios on June 11, 2004 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17: Actors Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, attend 'The Da Vinci Code' World Premiere & Opening Gala at the Palais during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress-Producer Rita Wilson and Actor-Producer Tom Hanks arrive at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actor Tom Hanks arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Inaugural Governors Awards held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LARRY CROWNE 2011 Universal Pictures film with Tom Hanks and Gugu Mbatha-Raw
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Actors Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts pose at the 25th Annual American Society Of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards on February 13, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
US director and actor Tom Hanks poses during a photocall ahead of the premiere of his latest movie 'Larry Crowne' in Berlin on June 9, 2011. The comedy romace, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, will be released in German cinemas on June 30, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Los Angeles, USA. 24th October 2012. Tom Hanks arriving at the film premiere of "Cloud Atlas" in Los Angeles on October 24th 2012
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Tom Hanks performs a spoken word skit during a taping of 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on October 23, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Tom Hanks poses in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon play Bruce Springsteen's 'Wrecking Ball' during a taping of 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on October 23, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Actor Tom Hanks presents Honoree Steve Martin with honorary award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JANUARY 25: Actor Tom Hanks speaks onstage at the 66th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on January 25, 2014 in Century City, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DGA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actors Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks attend the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: Carly Rae Jepsen and Tom Hanks are seen on February 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by NCP/Star Max/GC Images)
US actor Tom Hanks poses during the photocall of the film ''Inferno'' in Florence on May 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Reviewers have been unimpressed with "Inferno," which carries a 21% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes — not surprising since the previous Langdon films and books also lacked critical support and still managed to be commercially successful. Moviegoing may be held down by the World Series, with three games scheduled this weekend for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.
"Inferno" has already passed the $100 million milestone in 64 international markets for Sony in its first ten days. Howard and Brian Grazer are producing. David Koepp wrote the script, as he did for "Angels & Demons."
The two previous installments — both set in Europe — grossed more than 70% of its worldwide take from international markets, where "The Da Vinci Code" took in $540 million and "Angels & Demons" totaled $352 million.
The movie opens with a mysterious death, followed by Hanks' Robert Langdon character being awakened in an Italian hospital with amnesia, thanks for a bullet to the head. It turns out that a madman is trying to wipe half the world's population, and kill Langdon.
Langdon teams up with a doctor — played by Felicity Jones — in hopes that she will help him recover his memories and stop the madman's plot. Omar Sy, Ben Foster, Sidse Babett Knudsen, and Irrfan Khan also star.
"Boo! A Madea Halloween" and "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" captured first and second place on the box office charts last weekend, and both should drop more than 50% in their sophomore round in theaters. "Madea" should generate roughly $12 million, while the new "Reacher" adventure is looking at $10 million or so.