Weekend Box Office (May 8 - 10, 2009)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND A classic franchise was reborn as North American moviegoers came out in strong numbers for the new Star Trek which grossed $79.2M over its extended three-and-a-half-day debut, according to final studio figures. The impressive haul consists of roughly $4M from early showtimes that began at 7pm on Thursday evening and $75.2M across the standard Friday-to-Sunday period. The gross was a solid $2.7M better than originally estimated.
The $125M Paramount production was a gamble that paid off as the franchise was left for dead after the last installment, 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, grossed a dismal $43.3M striking out with fans worldwide. The new Trek averaged a solid $19,539 over the three-day period from 3,849 theaters including 138 Imax venues. The $75.2M figure represented the biggest opening ever in franchise history more than doubling the $30.7M of 1996's First Contact, the previous best in the eleven-pic series. But comparisons are not fair since previous films were made for the die-hard fans and enjoyed much lower ticket prices. The new Trek was a reboot with a new younger cast that played to fans and to general action audiences too.
Breaking down the 3.5-day opening weekend, Star Trek launched on Friday with $30.9M including about $4M from Thursday previews. Saturday fell 12% to $27.2M, and Sunday slipped by only 23% to $21.1M. The three-day tally also ranked as the second biggest debut of 2009 trailing only last weekend's X-Men Origins: Wolverine which launched with $85.1M.
Reviews were fantastic for Star Trek which were key in allowing the J.J. Abrams-directed hit to reach a broader audience. If strong word-of-mouth kicks in, the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew could go on to lofty heights.
Following its muscular top spot bow last weekend kicking off the summer movie season, X-Men Origins: Wolverine took a freefall in its second weekend plunging 69% to $26.4M for second place. The sharp drop was even bigger than the ones suffered by other effects-driven action films opening on the first weekend of May like 2007's Spider-Man 3 (62%), 2004's Van Helsing (60%), and 2003's X2: X-Men United (53%). Star Trek, and its appeal to much of the same audience, took its toll on the mutant prequel as did mixed reactions from fans. Wolverine played out more like March's super hero saga Watchmen which tumbled 68% in its second weekend.
After ten days, the Hugh Jackman starrer has banked $129M. Spider-Man 3 and Watchmen collected 70-80% of their domestic totals in the first ten days and Wolverine shows no sign of being different. Budgeted at $130M, Origins should finish in the vicinity of $170M.
The romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past held up well in its second weekend declining by 33% to $10.3M. After ten days, the Matthew McConaughey pic has taken in a respectable $30.1M and could be headed for a $50-60M finish. The Warner Bros. release will try to continue to counter May's testosterone action flicks and cater to underserved female audiences.
Beyonce Knowles fell to fourth place with her hit thriller Obsessed which grossed $6.6M, off 46%, for a solid cume of $56.2M for Sony. Teen king Zac Efron followed with his high school comedy 17 Again which dipped 34% to $4.2M giving Warner Bros. $54M to date. An amazing 22 new releases in 2009 have crossed the $50M mark compared to 14 from the same period last year.
Summit stumbled into sixth place with its new comedy Next Day Air which debuted with $4.1M. Starring Donald Faison, Mike Epps, and Mos Def, the R-rated pic averaged a mild $3,613 from 1,138 theaters.
Paramount's disappointing drama The Soloist followed with $3.9M, down 30%, for a $23.8M total. Holding up well in its seventh frame with $3.3M was the Paramount/DreamWorks toon Monsters vs. Aliens which eased by 44% boosting the domestic total to a sturdy $186.8M.
Disney's nature doc Earth collected $2.7M, off 39%, for a $26.3M sum to date. The studio's Hannah Montana The Movie dropped 47% to $2.2M boosting the cume to a robust $73.9M.
The top ten films grossed $138.8M which was up 20% from last year when Iron Man remained in the top spot with $51.2M; and was up a healthy 49% from 2007 when Spider-Man 3 stayed at number one with $58.2M.
Be sure to check back all week for daily box office coverage of Star Trek's opening week.
Compared to projections, Star Trek and Next Day Air both opened very close to my respective forecasts of $74M and $3M.
Check the NEW historical box office chart for the Star Trek franchise. For a NEW review of Star Trek visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Angels & Demons opens.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||May 8 - 10||May 1 - 3||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Star Trek||$ 75,204,289||3,849||1||$ 19,539||$ 79,204,289||Paramount|
|2||X-Men Origins: Wolverine||26,408,288||85,058,003||-69.0||4,102||2||6,438||129,032,435||Fox|
|3||Ghosts of Girlfriends Past||10,258,141||15,411,434||-33.4||3,175||2||3,231||30,054,386||Warner Bros.|
|5||17 Again||4,232,422||6,361,358||-33.5||2,903||4||1,458||53,994,515||Warner Bros.|
|6||Next Day Air||4,111,043||1,138||1||3,613||4,111,043||Summit|
|8||Monsters vs. Aliens||3,260,440||5,803,429||-43.8||2,185||7||1,492||186,774,092||Paramount|
|10||Hannah Montana The Movie||2,193,043||4,164,185||-47.3||2,301||5||953||73,861,795||Buena Vista|
|12||State of Play||1,918,295||3,715,980||-48.4||1,541||4||1,245||33,986,760||Universal|
|13||Fast & Furious||1,254,010||2,763,875||-54.6||1,409||6||890||151,798,755||Universal|
|14||I Love You, Man||507,667||738,275||-31.2||407||8||1,247||70,095,671||Paramount|
|18||Is Anybody There?||283,909||291,608||-2.6||157||4||1,808||907,404||Story Island|
|19||Under the Sea 3D||231,147||248,178||-6.9||40||13||5,779||7,255,949||Warner Bros.|
|20||Paul Blart: Mall Cop||226,886||273,508||-17.0||267||17||850||145,790,203||Sony|
|Top 5||$ 122,663,406||$ 124,686,375||-1.6|
|Top 20 vs. 2008||146,317,335||121,630,884||20.3|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: May 11, 2009 at 5:20PM ET