SUNDAY CENTS: A ‘Star’ is reborn

Posted by · 7:50 pm · May 10th, 2009

Star TrekParamount broke the summer sophomore weekend slump with the impressive launch of “Star Trek” this weekend, earning $72.5 million for the three days and an extra $4 million from Thursday evening showtimes. On the same weekend that supposed summer blockbusters “Speed Racer,” “Poseidon” and “Battlefield Earth” all imploded out of the gate, J.J. Abrams and company successfully rebooted yet another franchise and you can expect Paramount to start production on a sequel as soon as humanly possible.

No “Star Trek” film had ever previously opened with more than $50 million, as the series has always catered to a pretty specific niche audience. Abrams and Paramount did all they could to destroy that perception and convince people that this version was hipper, sexier and more action-packed. The buzz worked and the film should continue to perform well in the coming weeks, easily out-earning “Wolverine” in the long run and probably becoming only the third “Trek” film to pass $200 million after the 1979 original and 1986’s “The Voyage Home.”

Summit Entertainment had the only other new release in “Next Day Air,” and they limited it to only 1,138 screens across the country. The resulting $4.0 million finish is a mediocre amount for that kind of release and didn’t really work as counter-programming like the studio probably hoped. Who would have thought that nearly 15 years after “Clueless,” Paul Rudd and Donald Faison would still have careers and Alicia Silverstone would not?

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” dropped a disastrous, but not unexpected, 68% to $27 million and $129.6 million total. Brett Ratner’s entry in the franchise passed $100 million in three days while Gavin Hood’s took a full week. $200 million ain’t happening and foreign grosses will have to put the gloss on this film for Fox.

“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” had a good hold, dropping only 32% due to no other options for the date crowd. It still won’t make as much as “What Happens in Vegas” did last May but it won’t tarnish Matthew McConaughey’s reputation like it looked like it might. He might want to get back in touch with Richard Linklater or Steven Spielberg though before it’s one “Fool’s Gold” too late.

I was one of the millions forking over $10 to Captain Kirk this weekend, and unlike Kris, I thought it was pretty stupid. Not surprising coming from the writers of “Transformers,” who can write a zippy line and an entertaining action sequence, but interesting plots and characters are a bit out of their reach. I know, I know, I should just sit back and enjoy the explosions and eat my popcorn.

Side note: Did anyone see Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto on SNL last night? Is it just me or did they really look like a bobo Matt Damon and Ben Affleck together?

Next week sees the return of Hanks, Howard and Brown with “Angels & Demons.” in 2006 “The Da Vinci Code” opened to $84.5 million with the help of non-stop media attention and controversy. This film has no such help and a slightly lesser-known source novel so I can’t see that figure repeated. Especially since general reaction to that first film was a collective shrug. I’m thinking $58 million, $64 million tops.

“Star Trek” should be able to drop in the 50% range thanks to glowing reviews and word-of-mouth, giving it another $36 million and setting it up to possibly become one of the top 5 grossing movies of the summer.

What do you guys think for “Angels & Demons?”  Here are the weekend’s top domestic grossers, courtesy of Exhibitor Relations:

Weekend of Friday, May 8, 2009

→ 7 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

7 responses so far

  • 1 5-10-2009 at 8:39 pm

    A.J said...

    I assume those figures are adjusted for inflation

  • 2 5-10-2009 at 9:55 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...


  • 3 5-10-2009 at 11:33 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Bobo? What is this, 1992?

    Anyway, I thought they worked, but the Quinto hair needed to go.

  • 4 5-11-2009 at 9:08 am

    tony rock said...

    star trek was anything but stupid…movies dont have to be deep to be smart

  • 5 5-11-2009 at 11:15 am

    chad said...

    I should clarify that Pine and Quinto were two things I really liked about the movie and am happy to see them become stars. I just noticed on SNL how much they looked like they came out of an Affleck/Damon biopic casting call.

  • 6 5-11-2009 at 11:41 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I think you’re stretching for a punchline there, chad.

  • 7 5-12-2009 at 8:24 pm

    Matt T said...

    Don’t worry chad, I actually kinda thought that too.