'Angels' flying lower than expected

$16.6 million marks slow start for Sony sequel

Bedeviled by mixed reviews and weak interest among younger moviegoers, Sony’s Tom Hanks starrer “Angels & Demons” hit domestic theaters a bit sluggishly on Friday, gathering $16.6 million from 3,527 venues.

Despite its ho-hum initial tally, Saturday is the true test for an older-skewing release like “Angels,” and its bow still could turn heavenly. But based on the first-day numbers, a more likely scenario would see “Angels” land on the lower end of pre-release projections. Sony execs claimed prior to the weekend that an opening just south of $50 million would be acceptable for the Ron Howard-helmed sequel to 2006’s “The Da Vinci Code.” Many industryites predicted “Angels” would fly north of $50 million through Sunday.

Elsewhere among Friday’s daily rankings, Paramount’s scifi prequel “Star Trek” dropped 62% from its first Friday tally to register $11.7 million in second place over an eighth day in release. If $4 million in May 7 previews are excluded from the comparison, the daily drop was a more modest 56%, as “Trek” cume docked at $142.1 million.

Fox’s comics-based actioner “X-Men-Origins: Wolverine” ranked third on the day with another $4.2 million shaping a $140.5 million cume as the Hugh Jackman starrer enters its third weekend.

Warner Bros. romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” – starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner -- rung up $2.1 million to finish fourth on the day, with a $35.3 million cume.

Sony’s Beyonce Knowles-toplined thriller “Obsessed” registered $1.5 million in fifth place for a $59.5 million cume.