Paramount’s “Star Trek Beyond” is dominating at the U.S. box office as the latest entry in the durable franchise heads to a solid $60 million opening weekend, estimates showed Saturday.
The 13th “Star Trek” movie is performing in line with forecasts and will wind up the weekend with more than double the nearest rival — Illumination-Universal’s third frame of hit animated comedy “The Secret Life of Pets” with about $28 million at 4,048 locations. “Pets” will finish with nearly $260 million in its first 17 days.
Fox’s launch of animated comedy “Ice Age: Collision Course” debuted in third place with a somewhat disappointing $21 million at 3,992 sites as “The Secret Life of Pets” blunted its potential attraction in the family space. New Line’s opening of horror-thriller “Lights Out” could edge past the fifth Ice Age film as it was outperforming forecasts with $20.4 million at 2,818 venues.
Sony’s second weekend of “Ghostbusters” could also wind up in third with about $21 million as the comedy declined by 55%. The female-led reboot will have banked $86 million by the end of the weekend.
“Star Trek Beyond,” the third film in the rebooted sci-fi series, won’t match its two immediate predecessors. It’s down 14% from the $70.2 million launch of 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” and 20% from the $75.2 million bow of 2009’s “Star Trek.”
But the franchise has shown remarkable staying power since the original TV series launched 50 years ago with four more series and 13 movies. Paramount announced Monday that it is already developing a 14th movie starring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and Chris Hemsworth as his father.
Justin Lin (“Fast & Furious 6”) directed “Star Trek Beyond,” which premiered at Comic-Con on Wednesday. It has a hefty $185 million production budget and stars Pine, Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock, and Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, with Idris Elba joining the franchise as a villainous alien commander.
“Star Trek Beyond” 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 — and hopes that it can continue to show traction overseas. “Star Trek Into Darkness” grossed $228 million domestically and $238 million internationally, 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.
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.
“Ice Age: Collision Course” carries a $105 million budget and comes four years after “Ice Age: Continental Drift” dazzled by taking in $161 million in the U.S. and $715 million internationally. “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, has a modest budget of under $5 million and should become quite profitable for Warner Bros. It represents another strong performance in the horror sector by New Line, which saw “The Conjuring 2” pass $300 million earlier this week.