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Weekend Report: ‘Angels & Demons’ Lights Up, ‘Star Trek’ Maintains Thrust

by Brandon Gray
Ayelet Zurer and Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons
 

 
May 18, 2009

While Mona Lisa might frown at the more earthly sum, The Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons uncovered a spirited $46.2 million on approximately 7,000 screens at 3,527 sites, leading the weekend ahead of a storming Star Trek. Overall weekend business rang in at more than $137 million, which was a four percent improvement over the same weekend last year but not among the best showings for the timeframe.

Three years ago, The Da Vinci Code blazed into 3,735 theaters with a $77.1 million opening, ultimately grossing $217.5 million (not to mention another $540.7 million overseas, and Angels & Demons is on track to have a similar domestic-to-foreign ratio with its $102.1 million foreign take). Based on one of the biggest-selling novels of all time and embroiled in controversy, Da Vinci was a unique phenomenon. No adult-oriented thriller had such a first weekend high before or since. It was never in the cards for Angels & Demons to come close to Da Vinci. The storyline had a less significant scope and inspired no hullabaloo, and Da Vinci itself had a mixed reception and didn't leave audiences begging for more.

Considering that the Dan Brown novel on which Angels & Demons is based sold fewer than half as many copies as The Da Vinci Code, a 60 percent retention of Da Vinci's opening wasn't too shabby. It was comparable to the dip from Hannibal to Red Dragon, and Angels' start also stands as the second-biggest for a Tom Hanks movie and is among the largest in the adult thriller category. According to distributor Sony Pictures' exit polling, 52 percent of the audience was female and 50 percent was 30 years and older, skewing slightly older than Da Vinci.

Unphased by Angels & Demons, Star Trek excelled in its second weekend, logging $43 million. Reaching $147.6 million in just over ten days, it eclipsed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as the highest-grossing picture in the franchise. In terms of attendance, though, it advanced to sixth place, surpassing Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on Sunday.

Slowing 43 percent, Star Trek effectively had the best second weekend hold for a Star Trek movie since Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and it had a smaller decline than Iron Man last year. The IMAX portion of its gross was down 27 percent to $5.3 million at 138 sites, which was a record second weekend for the format, beating The Dark Knight's $4.7 million. The IMAX tally is $17.6 million, accounting for nearly 12 percent of the overall total. Starting May 22, Star Trek is scheduled to relinquish its IMAX screens to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

Sinking to third, X-Men Origins: Wolverine mustered $14.7 million, down 44 percent. Its drop was actually less than the previous X-Men movies in their third weekends. Nonetheless, each of those pictures had higher attendance at the same point, and the gap only widened. Strong for what it is, Wolverine has generated $151 million in 17 days.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past lingered in fourth place with $6.7 million and continued to save a little bit of face after its soft debut. Down 35 percent, it has held about as well as Failure to Launch, though its gross remains a Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy low with $39.9 million in 17 days.

Holdovers in general saw smaller declines than normal. Obsessed eased 30 percent to $4.6 million, and its chest grew to $62.6 million in 24 days. 17 Again had a bigger third weekend than the previous major body switch comedy, 13 Going on 30, making $3.4 million for a $58.4 million tally in 31 days. Best of all was Monsters Vs. Aliens, which dipped a mere two percent to $3.2 million. The animated comedy has the top gross of 2009 thus far with $190.7 million in 52 days.

Meanwhile, in limited release, a comedy with Jennifer Aniston called Management debuted to a poor $375,916 at 212 venues. The Brothers Bloom was relatively better but still modest with $90,400 at four sites. The comedy featuring Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody is scheduled to expand to the Top 15 markets on May 22.

Last Weekend
'Star Trek' Prospers

This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2008 - 'Narnia' Retreats with Sequel
• 2007 - 'Shrek' Reclaims Crown with Third Movie
• 2006 - 'Da Vinci' Almighty
• 2005 - Final 'Star Wars' Is Box Office Revenge
• 2004 - 'Shrek' Lands Far, Far Ahead of Summer Pack
• 2003 - 'Matrix' Enters the Record Books
• 2002 - 'Attack of the Clones' Conquers the World

Related Charts
Weekend Box Office Results
All Time May Opening Weekends
'Star Trek' Franchise



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