'Angels' on top of world

But Sony's thriller manages just so-so $48 mil domestically

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 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% ahead of last year in EDI's comparisons at $3.45 billion.

Among limited openings, Summit unspooled "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 $48,200, or $24,100 per site. "Hours" clocks into 10 more markets 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 $739,000.

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

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

In "Angels," Hanks again portrays Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, with Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer co-starring.

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

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 holdover will compete with three wide openers, including two tentpole releases.

Fox is an early favorite to win the four-day weekend with "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," while Warner Bros. will look for a rollicking session with "Terminator Salvation." Paramount is set to bow the Wayans brothers' spoof "Dance Flick," wielding more modest aims. (partialdiff)