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Box Office: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Blasts Off With $5.5 Million on Thursday

Paramount’s “Star Trek Beyond” has launched impressively with $5.5 million in Thursday night preview showings at 3,100 U.S. locations.

New Line’s horror-thriller “Lights Out” debuted decently with $1.8 million on Thursday night and Fox’s animated comedy “Ice Age: Collision Course” opened with $850,000 from 2,858 locations.

About 20% of the “Star Trek Beyond” grosses came from 387 Imax screens, where it grossed $1.1 million. Paramount noted the Thursday night preview number is comparable to “Spectre,” which opened with $5.3 million in November and went on to post a $70.4 million opening weekend.

“Star Trek Beyond,” the third film in the rebooted sci-fi series, opens Friday at 3,928 sites and is expected to dominate weekend moviegoing with a solid $55 million, with some analysts projecting it could hit $60 million. That’s down from the $70.2 million launch of 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the $75.2 million bow of 2009’s “Star Trek” — both directed by J.J. Abrams.

Justin Lin (“Fast & Furious 6”) directs the new film, which premiered at Comic-Con on Wednesday. It has a hefty $185 million production budget and brings back Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock, and Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, with Idris Elba joining the franchise as a villainous alien commander.

Reviews for “Star Trek Beyond,” the 13th movie in the franchise, have been mostly positive with an 87% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film also marks one of the final appearances of Anton Yelchin, who portrayed Pavel Chekov in the rebooted films and died last month in a car accident. The film is dedicated to Yelchin and original “Star Trek” actor Leonard Nimoy, who passed away in 2015.

Fox is countering with the fifth iteration of its “Ice Age” franchise with “Ice Age: Collision Course” at 3,992 locations, where it is expected to pull in $25 million. The films follow a collection of Paleolithic creatures and feature vocal performances by the likes of Ray Romano, Simon Pegg, Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Lopez.

“Collision Course” cost $105 million to produce and should be quite profitable. The four films have taken in $2.8 billion worldwide with 2012’s “Continental Drift” taking in $877.2 million with 82% of that overseas. “Collision Course” has already grossed over $140 million internationally in 60 markets.

New Line Cinema’s “Lights Out,” which is about an evil spirit that haunts a family when the lights are out, is looking at an opening between $13 million to $15 million at 2,818 locations. “Lights Out” cost less than $5 million to produce.

A pair of holdovers will battle “Ice Age Collision Course” for second place — Illumination-Universal’s third weekend of “The Secret Life of Pets” and Sony’s second frame of “Ghostbusters.” “Pets” won last weekend with $50 million and has topped $225 million in less than two weeks while “Ghostbusters” hit $62 million in its first six days.

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