'Star Trek' boldly earns $7 million

Tally is from Thursday night 'preview' performances

'Star Trek' review
'Wolverine' to test 'Star Trek' bow

Paramount's sci-fi prequel "Star Trek" journeyed to a first-night haul estimated at $7 million in an early launch fueled by "preview" performances scheduled at most of its 3,800 locations between 7 p.m.-midnight Thursday.

The early coin will be included in Friday grosses when the film's weekend opening is officially tabulated.

The practice of adding prior-night grosses to Friday grosses has been criticized by distribution execs from some rival studios. But it continues a recent trend, after Par last May bow "Iron Man" with Thursday showtimes and lumped those grosses into its Friday tally for the Marvel Studios-produced tentpole.

Some distribution execs suggest the situation was an inevitable development once midnight Thursday performances became common for tentpole openings.

Last week, Fox unspooled its "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" with more than 1,500 midnight Thursday screenings to fetch more than $4.5 million in witching-hour coin. "Wolverine" rung up $85 million domestically over its entire first weekend and was positioned to cross $200 million in worldwide boxoffice by the end of Friday.