Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond topped the Friday box office with $22.5 million from 3,928 theaters, putting the USS Enterprise on course for a $56 million-$60 million U.S. bow, behind the previous two installments in the revived franchise but still a solid start for Paramount and Skydance if overseas returns are flush.
The sci-fi adventure, costing a hefty $185 million to produce, is playing in a total of 3,928 locations, including hundreds of Imax theaters.
The Lin-helmed Star Trek sequel, which had its world premiere Wednesday night at Comic-Con, won’t match the North American debut of the last film in rebooted franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness ($70.2 million). The 2009 film Star Trek blasted with an even better $75.2 million.
Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and the late Anton Yelchin return for the new Paramount and Skydance film, which sees the crew exploring the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy. The studio has already announced another film planned for the franchise, although a director was not revealed.
Star Trek Beyond — sporting generally strong reviews — also is opening 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.
Facing tough competition, the news is grim for the fifth installment in Fox’s new animated Ice Age franchise, which looks to be DOA. Ice Age: Collision Course took in $7.8 million Friday from 3,992 theaters for a weekend gross of around $21 million from 3,992 theaters, a series low and one of the worst launches for a studio animated tentpole in a decade. The film earned a B+ CinemaScore.
Fellow animated offering The Secret Life of Pets, now in its third weekend, is handily beating Collision Course, earning $8.6 million on Friday from 4,048 theaters for an estimated $28.4 million weekend for Universal and Illumination. That would put Pets at No. 2. Nor does the staying power of Finding Dory — which looks to earn another $7 million in its sixth weekend — help Ice Age. Ditto for scathing reviews; Collision Course has a 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The previous installment, Ice Age: Continental Drift, debuted 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.
Mike Thurmeier and Galen T. Chu direct the film, which sees the lovable animals Manny, Diego and Sid trying to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.
Collision Course hopes to come in No. 3, but it’s finding itself in a tight race with New Line’s Lights Out and Ghostbusters.
Lights Out, a supernatural horror film, is doing far better than expected, earning a stellar $9.2 million Friday from 2,818 theaters, meaning it could likewise hit $21 million for the weekend. The microbudgeted film, produced by James Wan, is being released by Warner Bros. and stars Teresa Palmer as a young woman who tries to protect her brother from a malevolent spirit connected to their mother’s past.
Ghostbusters is likewise tipped to gross $21 million, which equals a relatively steep 55 percent decline steep from last weekend.
Elsewhere, conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s Hillary Clinton documentary, Hillary Clinton: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, is expanding nationwide this weekend after opening in three theaters last week in Texas, a conservative stronghold. The doc looks to place No. 10 or No. 11 with $3 million to $3.5 million. That’s behind D’Souza’s hit doc 2016 Obama’s America, but ahead of his last film, America.
Among more limited offerings, Fox Searchlight’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, based on the hit British TV series, is projected to earn $1.9 million from 313 locations.
July 22, 12:40 p.m. Updated with weekend estimates.
July 23, 8 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and weekend estimates.