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Monday, May 18, 2009

'Angels & Demons' unseats 'Star Trek' for top spot with $48m, May 15-17, 2009

*correction: Monsters vs. Aliens is currently the top grossing film of 2009, not X-Men Origins: Wolverine (thanks anonymous)

Sony's big budget sequel Angels & Demons reunited director Ron Howard with his main star Tom Hanks, and the combination proved to be enough to unseat last week's reigning champ Star Trek, though just barely. Debuting in 3,527 theaters, the $150 million budgeted book adaptation opened with $48 million, averaging a strong $13,609 per theater.

Still, the debut was significantly lower than its predecessor The Da Vinci Code, which launched amid controversy to $77 million back in May 2006. The film finished with a whopping $217.5 million domestic. Angels & Demons takes place chronologically before Da Vinci Code, and was a far less popular book, which could have reduced its box office appeal.

Suffering from mostly poor reviews from critics Angels & Demons clearly opened below industry expectations, given the name recognition of the franchise, big debut from its predecessor, and lucrative pre-Memorial Day weekend release date. With many analysts anticipating at least a mid-$50 million opening, the $48 million bow had to have been disappointing for Sony execs. It was the worst week-before-Memorial Day weekend in nearly a decade, dating back to Disney's computer-animated Dinosaur, which debuted with $38.9 million.

Released day and date internationally, Angels & Demons raked in a far more impressive $104.3 million, giving the film a very potent worldwide opening haul of $152.3 million.

Holding very strong in second with s 43% drop was Paramount's hit sci-fi actioner Star Trek with $43 million. The JJ Abrams reboot has now amassed $147.6 million in just ten days of release, nearly surpassing the total gross of third place finisher X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Word of mouth has clearly boosted the film's box office prospects, and a $250+ million domestic haul seems like a sure bet.

By mid-week Star Trek will surpass Wolverine in becoming the top grossing film of the summer, and has already surpassed 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ($109.7m) as the highest grossing film in Trek history. The top grosser of 2009 is currently Monsters vs. Aliens with $190 million*. Internationally, Star Trek hasn't played nearly as strong, raking in $70 million in two weeks of release, bringing its worldwide take to $217.6 million.

Falling 44% to third was Fox's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which took in $14.8 million bringing its three week cume to $151.1 million. The film is still the current worldwide leader at the box office, with $151.1m domestic and another $144.5m overseas. Its worldwide take is an incredible $295.6 million.


Anonymous said...

Star Trek still has a ways to go to overtake Monsters vs. Aliens - ($190M+) though it will do so handily.

greeneagles said...

I would imagine that word of mouth takes you a little farther in the slower winter months, since the summer has blockbuster after blockbuster released almost every week. However, I have not heard a single negative, outside of a few small quibbles from Trekkies or Trekkers, about the Star Trek film. After seeing it this weekend, I can see why. While I was nervous of the new direction, I was impressed after seeing the film.

I do think that Star Trek will take a hit with Terminator Salvation this weekend. But, the new Star Trek franchise is on firm footing, and I know that that has to make the studio executives happy.

Stephen Wong said...

You're right about the winter months being better for word of mouth pics, for instance 'Night at the Museum' opened to $30 million in December, but had virtually no competition through Jan.-Feb. and went on to almost $250 million total. 'Titanic' did the same thing and wound up with over $600 million. But word of mouth definitely enabled 'Star Trek' to nearly surpass 'Wolverine's three week cume in just 10 days, despite opening $10 million less than 'Wolverine'. Like 'Iron Man', 'Star Trek' should be one of the clear winners for the entire summer.