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Box Office: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Heads for $60 Million Opening Weekend

Paramount’s “Star Trek Beyond” is dominating the U.S. box office, blasting off for an impressive weekend of as much as $60 million at 3,928 locations, early estimates showed Friday.

It’s a solid start for the 13th film in the durable franchise, following a summer that’s seen notably disappointing performances from several sequels.

That negative trend appears to be dragging down Fox’s animated comedy “Ice Age: Collision Course,” which looks to under-perform in the $22 million range at 3,992 venues. The fifth “Ice Age” movie may wind up trailing the third weekend of “Secret Life of Pets” and the second weekend of “Ghostbusters” in a battle for second place.

New Line’s low-cost horror-thriller “Lights Out” is overperforming with initial estimates showing a debut between $15 million and $20 million at 2,818 sites.

Star Trek Beyond,” the third film in the rebooted sci-fi series, opens Friday at 3,928 sites and appears to be performing in line with projections. It’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.

“Star Trek Beyond” is being released in conjunction with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first airing of the landmark TV series.

“‘Star Trek’ is an undeniably iconic brand that has stood the test of time and if you include the original TV series, one that has been around nearly 50 years and is rivaled only by James Bond for its ability to still draw a huge audience,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

“Star Trek Beyond” opened with $5.5 million in Thursday night previews. That number was comparable to the $5.3 million for “Spectre,” which opened with $5.3 million in November and went on to post a $70.4 million opening weekend.

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.

Should the $60 million estimate hold, “Star Trek Beyond” would have the ninth largest domestic opening of 2016. the film is also releasing in 37 markets internationally, representing 46% of the movie’s ultimate international footprint with launches in the UK, Australia, Russia and Germany.

The franchise has started to generate respectable numbers internationally: “Star Trek Into Darkness” grossed $228 million domestically and $238 million internationally. “Star Trek Into Darkness” is the only movie in the franchise to have grossed more overseas than domestically.

The 12 films have grossed $1.24 billion in the US and $569 million internationally.

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’s fifth iteration of its “Ice Age” franchise with “Ice Age: Collision Course” comes four years after “Ice Age: Continental Drift” taking in $161 million in the U.S. and an astounding $715 million internationally. The new film features vocal performances by Ray Romano, Simon Pegg, Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Lopez and cost $105 million to produce.

“Collision Course” has already grossed over $140 million internationally in 60 markets.

New Line Cinema’s “Lights Out,” based on David F. Sandberg’s short film, stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke and Maria Bello. The film, which has an 80% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, centers on an evil spirit that haunts a family when the lights are out.

“Lights Out” cost less than $5 million to produce and represents another strong performance in the horror sector by New Line, which saw “The Conjuring 2” pass $300 million earlier this week.

Illumination-Universal’s third weekend of “The Secret Life of Pets” and Sony’s second frame of “Ghostbusters” are should both be decent performers this weekend in the $25 million range. “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.6.

Disappointing results from sequels such as “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Independence Day: Resurgence” have depressed the summer box office, which is off 2.9% to $2.84 billion as of Thursday, according to com.Score. Year-to-date box office as of Thursday is up 0.7% to $6.47 billion.

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