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Weekend Estimates: Star Trek Falls Short of $60 Million

July 24th, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond will fall just short of $60 million at the box office this weekend, according to Sunday estimates from Paramount. The studio has the film coming in at $59.6 million over three days, which is substantially short of the $79.2 million earned on debut by Star Trek (the reboot) in 2009, and the $70.2 million made by Star Trek Into Darkness. The so-so start comes in spite of excellent reviews, which are now running at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the franchise seems to have trouble reaching beyond its core audience.

The reason for Star Trek’s stall at the box office could be put down to a few things. Some will certainly point towards the relatively poor performance of sequels this Summer, although it’s questionable whether there is a real problem for sequels, or if this Summer has just been a random fluctuation. My personal opinion is that the franchise, for all its adventure and derring-do, has remained stuck with an older demographic than comparable franchises, like Star Wars, Marvel and Transformers. One reason for this, and bear with me here, is that it suffers from not having any LEGO sets. (Apparently this is because KRE-O owns the toy rights.) That kind of tie-in drives demand for the films across age groups, as do theme park attractions. Lacking those kind of tie-ins, the films haven’t broken out of their original 1960’s roots, and a demographic to go with it. Their box office and broader financial performance would look quite different if Disney owned the rights, I suspect… possibly to the detriment of the franchise as a whole, it could be argued.

Back to this weekend at the box office, Lights Out made a strong debut too, picking up $21.6 million, according to Warner Bros., which means it is exactly tied with Ghostbusters’ weekend estimate from Sony. It looks to me as though Ghostbusters will end the weekend slightly ahead, but the difference is miniscule.

In fact, three films are essentially tied in 3rd–5th place this weekend, all some way behind The Secret Life of Pets, which will pick up $29.3 million for a total of $261 million so far. The final film in the tied trio is Ice Age: Collision Course, which is headed for a truly dismal $21 million debut. These films have never done particularly well at the domestic box office, but this is less than half the opening achieved by Continental Drift four years ago, and the films will again be heavily dependent on international earnings to make up the gap.

Expanding into wide release, and posting a worse theater average than Ice Age (although, to be fair, from a very different demographic), Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party will make about $3.7 million from 1,217 theaters. Those figures suggest that it’s a film that is preaching only to the converted.

Several films in limited release are doing quite a bit better. Café Society will earn around $875,000 from 50 theaters this weekend; Korean zombie movie Train to Busan will pick up $285,900 from 27 locations; Kabali is set for $2.2 million from 236 theaters, after having a very impressive opening on Thursday. Slightly less impressive is Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, a UK import that will just top an average of $6,000 from 313 theaters for $1.8 million in total. Topping them all on a per theater basis is Don’t Think Twice, which is set for around $90,000 from a single venue. The ensemble comedy, starring Keegan-Michael Key, will be worth looking out for over the next few weeks. A debut like this for a film in this genre doesn’t usually mean much for its long-term prospects at the box office.

- Weekend estimates

- Star Trek Beyond comparison chart
- Star Trek franchise history
- Ice Age: Collision Course comparison chart
- Ice Age franchise history
- Lights Out comparison chart
- Ghostbusters comparison chart
- The Secret Life of Pets comparison chart
- Finding Dory comparison chart
- Highest-grossing animated movies
- Top 2016 movies at the global box office

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Ghostbusters, The Secret Life of Pets, Ice Age: Collision Course, Lights Out, Star Trek Beyond, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Café Society, Don’t Think Twice, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, Busanhaeng, Kabali, Star Wars, Star Trek, Ice Age, Transformers, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Keegan-Michael Key