'Angels & Demons' hauls $48 million

Sony sequel gets strong competition from 'Trek'

Sony's Tom Hanks starrer "Angels & Demons" hovers in boxoffice limbo domestically -- neither heavenly hit nor hellish flop, after opening No. 1 with an estimated $48 million during the weekend -- but its worldwide bow was much more celestial.

Directed by Ron Howard and co-produced by Imagine Entertainment, "Angels" enjoyed a profoundly outsized international debut of $104.3 million from 96 territories. That made for an impressive $152.3 million worldwide tally, though with domestic grosses on the lower end of industry expectations, execs will hope "Angels" shows sturdy legs.

Paramount's well-reviewed sci-fi actioner "Star Trek" charted a stellar second session to grab second place in the domestic rankings, as the franchise prequel dropped just 46% from its first frame to $43 million and a $147.6 million cume. Fox's comic book-based action pic "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" finished third in its third weekend in release with $14.8 million and a $151.1 million cume.

Summit Entertainment's urban action comedy "Next Day Air" fell 45% in its sophomore session to $2.3 million, good for ninth place and a 10-day cume of $7.6 million.

Industrywide, the $139 million weekend notched a 5% uptick from the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI. That represented the seventh weekend among the past eight sessions in which the boxoffice has marked a year-over-year improvement.

Summer boxoffice is up 7% from a year earlier at $535.4 million. Year to date, 2009 is pacing 9% of last year in EDI's boxoffice comparisons at $3.45 billion.

Among limited openings, Summit Entertainment unspooled the con-men dramedy "The Brothers Bloom" -- starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weisz -- in two theaters in New York and a pair in Los Angeles and grossed $82,000. That represented an auspicious $20,500 per venue ahead of a scheduled expansion to top-15 markets.

IFC Films bowed the Juliette Binoche starrer "Summer Hours" in two New York locations and grossed an estimated $48,200, or an impressive $24,100 per site. "Hours" clocks into 10 additional markets on Friday.

And Samuel Goldwyn/IDP debuted the romantic comedy "Management," starring Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn, in 212 theaters to recruit $378,420, or a wobbly $1,785 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Sony Pictures Classics added 149 locations for a total of 219 sites for the soccer drama "Rudo y Cursi," starring Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, and grossed $443,949. That represented a relatively thin $2,027 per venue as the cume reached $443,949.

SPC doubled the playdates for its Broadway documentary "Every Little Step" to a total of 48 engagements and grossed $111,308, or $2,319 per location, as the cume climbed to $483,212.

"Angels" is essentially is a sequel to Sony's "The Da Vinci Code." Also helmed by Howard, "Code" opened in May 2006 with $77 million domestically and registered a total $757 million in worldwide boxoffice.

In "Angels," Hanks again portrays Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, with Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer ("Vantage Point") co-starring. The film makes brief references to events in "Code," though "Code" was the literary sequel.

Mixed film reviews may have hampered its domestic bow a bit, but execs expect "Angels" -- produced for an estimated $150 million -- to display good holding power in the marketplace.

"We never expected it to perform to the level of 'The Da Vinci Code,' " Sony worldwide distribution president Rory Bruer said. "But based on this number, we should make it to $500 million worldwide. And that would absolutely would surpass our expectations."

"Angels" drew domestic audiences that were 52% female, with 50% of patrons 30 or older.

Looking to this weekend, the boxoffice session will be stretched by Memorial Day grosses. The Monday holiday could help "Angels" mount a strong second session, but the Sony holdover will compete with three wide openers including two tentpole releases.

Fox is an early favorite to win the four-day weekend with its broadly targeted action comedy "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," while Warners also will be looking for a rollicking session with its PG-13 action sequel "Terminator Salvation." Paramount is set to bow the Wayans brothers' comedy spoof "Dance Flick," wielding more modest aims.
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