Box Office: “Star Trek” strong, “Ice Age” bombs, “Lights Out” overachieves

boxoffice is emphasizing the negative regarding  the opening weekend of “Star Trek Beyond,” with some justification.

It’s opening, based on late Wed., Thursday and Friday’s numbers, with $60 million in ticket sales.

But “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the last film in this series, did much better, without adding in “marathon night” ticket sales. It opened at about $71 million.

Franchise fatigue? Almost certainly. Paramount was nursing this film — cherry picking which critics got to see it early to push positive reviews, doing the “marathon” showing of all three films Wed. night — into a good opening.

And after inflation, it’s still underwhelming. They read the reviews and their tracking data and jumped the phaser early in the week, announcing a fourth film with this cast — minus the late Anton Yelchin — before “Beyond” opened.

$60 million is a healthy opening, but I sensed, from that marathon night audience (older, fewer in number) that this has run its big screen course. Web buzz on it has been low, web traffic on this blog (a pretty reliable indicator of interest) has been nil.

I said “anything under $50 and Paramount will have serious second thoughts.” But Paramount may still change its mind.

Fox is almost certainly regretting doing another “Ice Age” movie. These Blue Sky productions have been lower and lower in entertainment value, and the box office has reflected that. “Collision Course,” the latest, is doing $18-19 million this weekend. Those are direct-to-DVD numbers, back when DVDs were a thing. Bomb. It won’t break even.

Conversely, “Lights Out!” is performing a bit above the usual horror opening ceiling, over $20 million. Very good for a non-franchise horror film. The “Insidious” pictures and their ilk do better. But it’s good to see a creepy, child-in-jeopardy ghost story pay off like that. Same formula as “Insidious,” good cast, good performances, decent enough script.

“Ghostbusters” is floating above all the heat and hate (Fanboys, He Man Woman Haters, Republicans, etc.) to have a 50% drop off from a pretty solid opening weekend. Breaking even for the $144 million movie is still within reach. It will clear $100 million by next Friday, should manage $120-140 US, with any profit coming from overseas.

“The Secret Life of Pets” isn’t all that, yet is heading towards $300 million, just in the US. “Finding Dory” is just $100 million ahead of it, at this point.

“The Legend of Tarzan” slipped over $100 million and may hit $135 when all is said and done. 

Ex-con con man Dinesh D’Souza’s fresh-from-his-conviction documentary “Hillary’s America” added over a thousand screens, and didn’t crack the top ten. A week of Trump TV took some of the wind out of its sails. Still, nobody ever went broke pandering to that audience.

“Absolutely Fabulous” is doing only so-so in limited release, just $5000 per screen.

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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