Until the actual box-office numbers are known next May, we can only speculate how well Episode One will do its initial weekend. Assuming that the film is as good as the first three, then selling out each showing of the film for its first weekend should be easy. We can try to estimate the projected gross of the film by comparing it to the highest grossing weekend of all time, which is currently held by Spielberg's Jurassic Park: The Lost World. During the four-day Memorial Day Weekend 1997, the Lost World took in $ 92.7 million on 3,281 theater screens. The Lost World averaged $ 28,256 per screen on opening weekend.
We know that Episode One will not debut on 3,000 plus screens because George told starwars.com that the release of Episode One will be geared more towards quality than quantity just like the special editions. Star Wars: ANH Special Edition opened on 2,104 screens during the last weekend of January 1997. If we a assume that Episode One will open on a similar amount of screens and earns a per screen average similar to the Lost World then: 2,104 screens X $ 30,000 per-screen-average = $ 63,120,000. $ 63.1 million would be the largest three-day opening weekend of all time in North America.
Now, it's logical to assume that the demand to see Episode One will be much greater than that of the Lost World. When the initial advanced ticket sales are offered, all the showing will quickly sell out. Hence, theater owners will offer additional late night/early morning showings in order to meet demand. Some theaters in the larger metropolitan markets will have 24-hour-a-round-the-clock screenings of Episode One for as long as the demand justifies it. If these additional screenings boosts Episode One's per screen average by 33% (just a guess on my part), then Episode One's opening weekend gross would then top $ 84 million for the first weekend.
In order for Episode One to gross $ 100 million plus during its opening weekend, it might have to take in about $ 50,000 per screen. This could conceivably happen with increased ticket prices and around the clock showings of the film. However, if Episode One doesn't crush the $ 100 million barrier during its first weekend this should not be considered a lackluster start. Because, ironically, the largest weekend gross of the film's release may its second weekend of release during the four-day Memorial Day Weekend. It will be interesting to see whether it is possible for Episode One to gross over $ 100 million in three days on so few theater screens. (Source: THX-Disciple)