Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek B.O. is Stellar - but not cosmically so.

*Editors' Note: Since publishing this post, the box-office earnings for the opening weekend of Star Trek have been revised upward to $79.2 million, an increase of 2.7 million. The new numbers account for an opening only 5.9 million dollars behind the opening weekend for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (revised 5.12.09)

We're heading out this afternoon to catch Star Trek and reveling in that whole summer movie thing. No, we didn't try to pad the opening weekend numbers with our personal ticket purchases. But over the weekend, you may have noticed our box-office predictions for the new J.J. Abrams release overshot reality. Not to worry, we'll start back tracking a bit right now. (Told you we would.)

Star Trek burst into theaters at just a hint less than warp speed for the weekend but stellar none the less. Let's put things in perspective. According to our favorite box-office reporting site, The Numbers, of the ten, yes ten, previous Star Trek movies, the highest box-office opening weekend was a mere 30.7 million posted by Star Trek: First Contact in November of 1996. Prior to that, the highest opening was just over 23 million (Star Trek: Generations) and the worst release was the very first, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which had an opening weekend of only 11.9 million. Through it all, the most money a Star Trek movie has ever made at the box-office in worldwide gross was 150 million (earned by Star Trek: First Contact). The original Star Trek: The Motion Picture went on from a weak opening to come in second with 139 million. But this is a movie franchise that is being seriously overhauled.

The new Star Trek, as released last Thursday night, is boldly going where no Star Trek movie has gone before, to blockbuster status, making the 76.5 million dollar take (though 8.6 million short of X-Men Origins: Wolverine's opening a week earlier), an outstanding number. While we really did think Star Trek would open over the 100 million mark, that would have meant a huge box-office weekend. Taking in all of the other current releases, those numbers were probably a bit optimistic in retrospect.

As it stands, we'll stick by our other predictions. Star Trek is the first summer movie that will have serious legs, easily breaking the 100 million mark by next Saturday and surpassing Wolverine's totals by the first of June. In the meantime, Wolverine (already down 68% in it's second weekend) will begin to fade further next weekend. Star Trek will give Angels and Demons a run for it's money for the number one spot next weekend and ultimately become the summer action blockbuster that Terminator Salvation will have to struggle to catch up to. Great word of mouth and excellent critical reviews (just the opposite of the buzz on Wolverine) will bolster this Star Trek to become the movie to remember when Blockbuster Summer '09 is a wrap and it will guarantee that Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto will be the Captain Kirk and Spock for a new generation and a new generation of sequels.

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