Thursday previews for Beyoncé's "Renaissance" bring in $5.1 million at the box office.

"Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé," the singer's concert film that she wrote, filmed, and produced, made $5.1 million in previews on Thursday, exceeding expectations.  

The picture is expected to gross between $17 million and $20 million in its first weekend in about 2,539 American theaters. 

However, "Renaissance" is a global event, with the concert film premiering in 94 international regions, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia. Globally, the picture is expected to gross between $30 and $40 million. 

It's a solid achievement, even if it falls short of Taylor Swift's "The Eras Tour," which grossed $92 million domestically last October. That film went on to gross $250 million worldwide. 

Both artists choose not to work with a large studio to have their picture released in theaters. Instead, they've teamed up with AMC Theatres, the world's largest exhibition chain, to deliver their sold-out shows to a wider audience.  

It appears to be a very profitable experiment for Beyoncé, who will receive half of the box office earnings, with the remaining ticket sales going to the exhibitors. 

AMC will be compensated for its efforts with a distribution fee, though not the kind of percentage of sales that a typical studio would want and receive. 

It could be a close contest for first place on the box office charts, with "Renaissance" having to hold off "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" in order to take the crown.  

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