UPDATE FRIDAY AM: Rocky Balboa made $3.4 mil for Thursday, a respectable drop of -45% the day after its opening. Cume now is $9.6 mil.

Thursday AM: I’m told MGM’s Rocky Balboa started fast with a $6.2 million mid-week opening Wednesday from 2,752 theaters. Early word had been that the matinees were “looking good” since the movie is better than anyone ever expected. Amazing that the franchise still had life in it, especially when the Hollywood studios were telling Sylvester Stallone not to embarrass himself by bringing the character out of retirement for a 6th bout (Although I wish Sly had kept his mouth shut since he made a fool of himself every time he’s been interviewed in recent weeks… especially by dissing Richard Gere.) Stallone knocked out the competition, so Sony’s The Pursuit of Happyness was #2, Paramount’s Charlotte’s Web #3 and Fox’s Eragon #4. But, my box office gurus tell me that, by this weekend, Rocky may only be #3 even though the film expands to 265 additional venues for a new theatre count of 3,017. The expected #1 is Fox’s Night At The Museum, which will be the giant Christmas movie this year, and #2, Sony’s The Pursuit of Happyness. Those pics will be ahead of Universal’s The Good Shepherd, Warner’s We Are Marshall and the holdover from Fox, Eragon. Dreamworks / Paramount’s Dreamgirls is looking great, I’m told, definitely Top 3 during Xmas week even with only 800 theaters. So, by December 26th, it should be #1 Museum, #2 Pursuit, #3 Dreamgirls, #4 Rocky, and, believe it or not, #5 Sony’s holdover The Holiday.