Weekend movies: “Star Trek” endorsed, “Ab Fab” pretty much, “Lights Out!” almost.

beyond2There’s some ridiculously high number on the tomatometer for “Star Trek Beyond,” which plays like the farewell to this “Enterprise” crew even though Paramount, just this week, announced a fourth film.

Forget the Tomatometer. Metacritic has a much more sober score, reflecting the prevalence of lukewarm opinions on this Justin Lin/Simon Pegg (co-wrote the script) installment in the NeverEnding Franchise.

Here’s what I’ve appreciated about the J.J. Abrams’built “Trek.” He cast it quite well. Though it hasn’t made real stars out of Chris Pine, Karl Urban or John Cho, and Zoe Saldana and Pegg and the late child actor turned adult Anton Yelchin had some fame pre-“Trek,” the Enterprise has been the best place for these players to show off their work.

The effects have been top notch, the production design first rate and Paramount has treated it as their marquee attraction. Not the case when they were milking the cash cow under Shatner and Nimoy, with worn out uniforms and plainly less expensive sets. I’m talking about the movies, not just the TV series.

“The Next Generation” was a waste of big screen time, and they knew it and acted like it.

But I am very curious to see how much this movie earns on its opening weekend. This “Star Trek” leans into “Guardians of the Galaxy” with its jokes and dated fanboy friendly pop culture references. More Beastie Boys? Really?

The Box Office Guru pitches this as a $66 million hit. Box Office Mojo figures it still has $59 million in it. Anything under $50 would push Paramount into reconsidering a fourth film, I dare say. And that could happen. The paid preview marathon I attended was one third empty. The hardcore fans are older and fewer in number.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” figures to be the second biggest opener among the new films. But that franchise was born bad and has been dropping dead dogs on us ever since. A $25-30 million opening might be generous, with Mojo predicting low and the Guru thinking it will do “Angry Birds” money. Even toddlers know that one’s a loser. Terrible reviews won’t hurt it. Bad reputation will.

“Lights Out!” will test whether the summer horror glass ceiling prevails. A half-decent horror film, very well acted, short and just scary enough, will it get anywhere near the horror Promised Land of mid $20s for an opening? Not likely. Guru figures $14 million, Mojo agrees. Passable (barely) reviews could boost it. It’s not a franchise, and horror fans like to return to their favorites, so $20 would be a stretch.

“Absolutely Fabulous” is already a hit in Britain, but do Americans remember the early 90s TV series that ran on cable here back in the day? And do those old enough to remember that still go to the movies? Not likely. Decent enough reviews, but its only being test-pushed onto 300 or so screens. Not a lot of cash there.

Dinesh D’Souza’s latest sop for the suckers, “Hillary’s America” or whatever he called it after getting out of prison, will make a bundle off the hardcore right. A reliable audience for anything this huxter serves up. It goes into wider release Friday.


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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