Although Friday, May 25th was scheduled to be the official release date for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, many theaters in the U.S. and Canada opted to begin showing the movie on Thursday night at 8 p.m., knowing that their patrons were impatient to see the return of Captain Jack Sparrow, the Black Pearl, and Jack’s assorted friends and enemies. According to Chuck Viane, Disney’s head of distribution, some movie theaters will be showing AT WORLD’S END around the clock to meet the audience demand for tickets: “We hear there are theaters that once they open tonight will be open for 24 straight hours,” Viane told the Associated Press on Thursday.

Since the running time of AT WORLD’S END–a substantial two hours, 47 minutes–limits the number of showings theaters can squeeze in per screen each day, nonstop showings are necessary to satisfy the crowds. This is true even though AT WORLD’S END is debuting on a record number of U.S. movie screens: 4,362 theaters domestically, 110 more than the previous record-holder, SPIDER-MAN 3.

Other box office records set by SPIDER-MAN 3 may fall. MovieTickets.com reports that advance ticket sales for AT WORLD’S END are outpacing the opening weekends of both PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST and SPIDER-MAN 3. Many thanks to Theresa for sharing the box office news; you can read the Associated Press story and the MovieTickets.com story on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet