Trekkies, the time for redemption has finally come. Gone are the days when people have no conception of who Captain Kirk or Uhura are. No longer will people scoff at you when you criticize the atrocity of a show that was Star Trek: Enterprise. No longer will you be the only ones at the office that understand the time-space bending properties of black holes. No longer will you be the only ones in the town with Vulcan haircuts. Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t true, but you get my point: Star Trek is cool again! Paramount has worked its tail off over the last few months to wash away the negative, nerdy, frankly lame connotations that the Star Trek franchise has developed over the last few year, and if there’s a film that’s going to succeed in doing so, it is this one. J.J. Abrams’ reimagined Star Trek is so beautifully produced and so lovingly handled. You can tell that everyone involved was really trying to make the best movie they could, and I think that decision will pay off big time. I saw it tonight, and it’s just awesome- the review will come soon. Paramount’s clearly confident about Star Trek, as they’ve advertised the heck out of it and already have a sequel greenlit, and its headed for the easy weekend win.
Comparing Star Trek to X-Men Origins: Wolverine is tricky. To be clear, I do not think that Star Trek is going to open as big as Wolverine did last weekend. Audiences are sure to be skeptical of the outer space franchise after 2002’s disastrous entry Star Trek: Nemesis (which earned a very sad $43 million) and the failed 2003 TV series, and many recession-affected adults are going to hold out to see this one is worth the $10 ticket. The debut of Star Trek actually reminds me a lot of 2005’s Batman Begins. After 1997’s embarrassingly bad Batman And Robin, audiences approached the reboot of the superhero franchise cautiously. Begins started with a humble $48 million during opening weekend on its way to $205 million overall. Star Trek, between its built-in audience and Paramount’s advertising, should be able to top Batman Begins‘ opening weekend, but it won’t hit Wolverine‘s level. That’s not to say that it won’t outgross the quickly falling Wolverine, because (mark my words) it will. Star Trek‘s word-of-mouth is going to be great, and the stellar reviews will convince adults to see the film. Star Trek is beaming into a very wide 3,849 theaters, and including the Thursday night showings, I’m predicting a $67 million weekend and a possible $230 million total, and even though it’s probably way too early to be wondering how big the sequel’s opening will be, I’m a box office analyst, and that’s just what I do! I’m already seeing numbers closer to $100 million…
You’ll have to excuse my extremely biased predictions for Star Trek. I’m still glowing after having watched the movie a few hours ago, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t affect my judgment. I really do believe $230 million is possible, though! But getting back to reality, there’s only one other new release this weekend: Summit Entertainment’s Next Day Air. The poorly reviewed urban drug comedy is clearly targeting an African American audience, a group all too often underestimated by analysts. Next Day Air is only flying into 1,138 theaters, but I’m predicting a pretty solid cume of $7 million.
On Monday, X-Men Origins: Wolverine earned $5.4 million. On Tuesday, it fell 15% to $4.6 million. On Wednesday it fell another 13% to $4 million. What do these statistics tell us? That Wolverine is fading fast. The superhero flick that kicked off the summer is looking more and more like a flash-in-the-pan success than an actual financial win for Fox. With lackluster word-of-mouth, the fanboy effect, and the direct competition of Star Trek, I think Wolverine will fall by a big 68% to $27.2 million in its second weekend. That would put the actionfest around $130 million for ten days, but it’s got no shot at breaking $200 million anymore.
Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, last weekend’s romantic comedy counter programming, should enjoy a solid hold this weekend. The Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner film was never going to be huge, but I don’t think Warner Brothers expected it to. A 40% drop would give Ghosts a $9.2 million weekend and $29 million overall. Here are my predictions for the Top 12:
Predicted Top 12 for May 8-10, 2009
1. Star Trek – $67 million
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $27.2 million
3. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past – $9.2 million
4. Next Day Air – $7 million
5. Obsessed – $6 million
6. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $4.1 million
7. 17 Again – $3.9 million
8. The Soloist – $3.6 million
9. Hannah Montana The Movie – $2.8 million
10. Earth – $2.5 million
11. State Of Play – $1.9 million
12. Fighting – $1.8 million
How much do you think Star Trek will earn this weekend? Let me hear your predictions in the comments! (For real people, commenting is so easy! If you just click here, you’ll instantly be ready to type in your answer!)