Box-Office Preview: 'Star Trek Beyond' Targets $55M-$60M Bow

Kimberley French/Paramount
'Star Trek Beyond'

Justin Lin directs the third installment of Paramount's rebooted series, which makes its official world premiere at Comic-Con on Wednesday; 'Ice Age: Collision Course' and 'Lights Out' also open nationwide, while 'Absolutely Fabulous' debuts in select theaters.

All eyes will be on the North American box office this weekend to see if Paramount's Star Trek Beyond can beat expectations and chase away the blues impacting a wide array of studio tentpoles so far this summer.

Prerelease tracking shows the movie — which makes its official world premiere Wednesday night at Comic-Con — opening in the $50 million-plus range, but good reviews could push that number past $55 million, if not $60 million. But to match the last two films in the rebooted franchise, Star Trek Beyond will have to do more; Star Trek Into Darkness opened to $70.2 million in May 2013, while Star Trek blasted off with $75.2 million in May 2009.

Whatever the case, Star Trek Beyond will have no trouble taking the box-office crown. Paramount co-financed the $185 million movie with Skydance Productions.

Justin Lin took over directing duties from J.J. Abrams, who helmed the first two installments in the revived franchise. Simon Pegg wrote the script with Doug Jung, while Abrams' Bad Robot banner produced the film.

Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and the late Anton Yelchin reprise their roles, while Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella join the franchise. This time out, the crew of the USS Enterprise are stranded on an unknown planet, where they face a new enemy, the ruthless military commander Krall (Elba). 

Star Trek Beyond currently boasts a 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, ahead of the 86 percent rating for Into Darkness but slightly behind the 2009 film (95 percent). Overseas, the sci-fi tentpole opens in roughly 46 percent of the marketplace this weekend, including the U.K., Australia, Russia and Germany. It doesn't land in China until Sept. 2, however

The weekend's two other new wide releases are New Line Cinema's horror pic Lights Out and Ice Age: Collision Course, the fifth outing in Fox's animated film franchise. If tracking is right, Collision Course will open in the $25 million range, a series low. The movie faces plenty of competition, between The Secret Life of Pets and the staying power of Finding Dory.

The last film, Ice Age: Continental Drift, debuting to $46.6 million domestically in July 2012, made 82 percent of its final gross overseas, a massive $716 million, and Collision Course is already off to a strong start offshore, earning an early $127 million. The franchise is especially huge in Latin America.

The voice cast sees the return of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez, Pegg and Chris Wedge. Newcomers include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Adam Devine, Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Roach.

Mike Thurmeirer and Galen T. Chu directed from a script by Michael J. Wilson. Critics have been none too kind to Collision Course, which currently sports a 15 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lights Out, from New Line and distributed by Warner Bros., is a microbudgeted horror film produced by James Wan. The pic, starring Teresa Palmer as a young woman who tries to protect her brother from a malevolent spirit connected to their mother's past, is tipped to earn $13 million-$15 million in its debut, according to Warner Bros. insiders. Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke and Maria Bello also star.

Elsewhere, Fox Searchlight opens the adult-leaning British comedy Absolutely Fabulous in select markets across the country. The film, targeted at women and directed by Mandie Feltcher, is based on the television show of the same name written by Jennifer Saunders, who stars opposite Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks.

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