Resistance proved futile: “Star Trek,” the Paramount Pictures prequel, sold an estimated $76.5 million in tickets at North American theaters in its first three and a half days of release, the top draw of the weekend.
The opening was propelled by a megawatt marketing campaign and unexpectedly strong critical notices. Going into the weekend, though, Paramount was a bit nervous about how the film, which cost $140 million, would perform.
Would the average moviegoer dismiss it as a geek flick? What about older women, an audience that has been tough for science fiction films to crack but is needed for a movie to reach blockbuster status? Historically “Star Trek” movies have performed poorly overseas. Would Paramount’s harder-than-usual sell in Europe pay off?
Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman, sounded giddy in an interview on Sunday morning. “A giant new audience came along for this ride,” he said. “It’s a great relaunch to this classic property.”
The studio, Mr. Moore said, thinks “Star Trek,” directed by J. J. Abrams and starring the newcomer Chris Pine as a young James T. Kirk, has “a real shot” to make more than $200 million domestically, a big number for a film with this size of opening weekend. Overseas, where sales information is slower to trickle in, Mr. Moore said “Star Trek” could sell more than $100 million in tickets, more than double the previous showing for the franchise.
Paramount executives said they had hoped the movie would perform like “Batman Begins,” the 2005 series reboot that opened to about $49 million in ticket sales. Helping “Star Trek” was the decision to start showing the movie in limited release on Thursday evening, a move meant to spur water-cooler talk in the office on Friday and give some padding to the weekend total.
Imax also helped boost results, selling an estimated $8.2 million of “Star Trek” tickets over the weekend, an Imax record. “We’ve never even been close to this kind of turnout before,” said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Filmed Entertainment.
In general the box office continues to sizzle. So far this year North American moviegoers have bought $3.44 billion in tickets, a 16 percent increase over the same period in 2008, according to Hollywood.com. Attendance is up 13 percent.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (20th Century Fox),which had the year’s biggest opening last weekend, taking in more than $85 million, was No. 2 this weekend, with an estimated $27 million for a cumulative total of $129.6 million (including weekday sales). “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” (Warner Brothers) earned an estimated $10.5 million for third place (and a new total of $30.2 million).
Rounding out the Top 5 were “Obsessed,” a low-budget thriller from Screen Gems, with $6.6 million ($56.2 million), and the Warner Brothers comedy “17 Again,” with $4.4 million ($54 million).
Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content.
Release Date: 2009-05-08
Starring: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Official Website: http://www.startrekmovie.com/
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2009’s ‘Star Trek’ is a youthful, and very entertaining modern revival of the classic and outdated TV series and movie franchise starring William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy. This new version is an all out action film that manages to balance it with some terrific casting, CGI effects and humor. Very similar to what ‘Iron Man’ as a movie offered. Star Trek has been designed with the lofty goal of keeping current fans, repatriating lapsed ones and, by re-branding the name, opening the Trek universe to millions of new viewers. J.J. Abrams‘ attempt has mostly succeeded.
The storyline is essentially the deep exploration of the beginnings of Captain Kirk and Spock. This allows the story to establish the origins of all the classic characters and the circumstances that brought them all together. Within this framework, Kirk and Spock meet and soon become competitive cadets-in-training. With their drastically opposite styles, one driven by passion, the other by rigorous logic, they become defiant adversaries, each going all out to be th4 captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) makes a cameo in the role that made him famous, and the connection between “new Trek” and “classic Trek” is created. Just like Nimoy’s appearance, there are a myriad of subtle homages to the old television series and Patrick Stewart films that the true Trekkies will appreciate. Oddly enough, Shatner was nowhere to be seen.
There are some narrative cracks though. Abrams and his screenwriters, longtime Trek fans Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, Mission Impossible 3), do their best to keep things engaging despite the tremendous constraints of the “origin” format, but there are times when the material feels rushed. When considering pace, this is most definitely that anti-Star Trek: The Motion Picture. No loving, languid shots here.
Star Trek is clearly an action-oriented motion picture, with an intensity that exceeds even that of The Wrath of Khan. The pace is blistering, and the movie is littered with the eye candy of expertly realized space battles. The special effects are beyond those seen in any of the previous ten Star Trek features. In addition to the battles, there are also chases, fight scenes, and all the other staples one expects from an action movie.
The casting could not have been better Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) truly embody the essence of the priginal characters. The dominican actress Zoe Saldaña plays Uhura, but with a new sexiness absent from the previous versions.
Ultimately, when the end credits roll, we’re left with the sense that Star Trek represents a good beginning. As a film tasked with getting all the characters together, re-booting a timeline, and finding a way to return a veteran actor to his beloved role, Star Trek works. There is some awkwardness here – it feels like the “hybrid” it is (or, as it has been called, “Not Your Father’s Star Trek”) but, considering how ponderous and stilted the Star Trek movie series had become, perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Still, as with any prequel/re-start, the real test will arrive with the next movie (purportedly in two years – assuming this one does not flop at the box office). The setup is complete; now it’s time to see whether the implied potential of this first entry into a new series can be realized in its sequel. If you can watch it in IMAX.
What the hell is happening in Mexico?! This swine flu is killing financial opportunities for many companies in the entertainment industry.
Paramount is calling off the May 8 launch of “Star Trek” in Mexico because of the swine flu epidemic, while Sony is debating whether to do the same with sequel “Angels and Demons.”
J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Trek” will open day and date in other major territories May 8.
“Angels,” the follow-up to “The Da Vinci Code,” is opening around the world May 15.
Twentieth Century Fox was the studio most immediately impacted by the outbreak of the flu in Mexico, since “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is opening day and date Friday. Studio’s international team made the decision over the weekend to cancel the opening of “Wolverine” in Mexico, along with the premiere.
The tricky part now will be deciding when to open the films without inviting too much competition.
And no one’s sure when the situation will improve. Mexico City has virtually shut down, including cinemas. Circuits also are closing theaters in other Mexican cities.
Mexico saw good results for the “X-Men” franchise and also drove plenty of business for “Da Vinci Code.”
Fox’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” the previous installment, saw its third-best territory gross — $16.5 million — in Mexico. Pic cumed $225 million internationally and $234.4 million domestically.
Mexico also made the top 10 list of highest-grossing territories for “Da Vinci Code,” at $19.3 million. Film grossed a boffo $540.7 million internationally and $217.5 million in North America.
If the situation improves in Mexico, Fox could open “Wolverine” in two weeks. At the same time, the studio might be loathe to go up against “Angels and Demons” if Sony sticks to the May 15 date.
Like Fox and Sony, Paramount is continuing to monitor the situation, and has not yet set another date for the debut of “Star Trek.”
One reason for delaying the launches is that studios don’t want to make huge media spends in the final days before a film’s release and then have to cancel on the eve of the opening.
Fox could even decide to push back the May 22 release of “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” in Mexico when coming up with a new plan for “Wolverine.”
So far, studios don’t believe the flu epidemic will affect moviegoing in other territories, including the U.S. and Canada. There have been no deaths outside Mexico.
“Wolverine” is expected to do big business in its debut. The winter and spring have seen record-breaking grosses at the domestic box office, with admissions up both domestically and internationally.
Universal‘s “Fast and Furious” won at the international box office for the April 24-26 weekend, grossing $15.9 million in its fourth sesh for a foreign cume of $170.9 million and a worldwide total of $316.7 million (domestic cume is $145.8 million). Film far outperformed expectations.
DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s 3-D toon “Monsters vs. Aliens” likewise continued its strong overseas run, grossing $10.7 million for the weekend for a foreign cume of $142.9 million and a world total of $318.2 million (domestic total is $175.3 million).
“Fast” and “Monsters” are the two top foreign earners of 2009.
Empire Magazine has revelaed the first review of the new Star Trek film being released in the U.S on May 8th. Let us know what you think of the review!
REVIEW According to recently discovered 23rd-century history, James Tiberius Kirk was literally born of battle — the last fight he ever backed away from was the one he was delivered into. In purely Darwinian terms though, Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was forged by a 21st-century crucible far more unforgiving than a field of photon torpedoes: network television — not HBO, television.
Two movies in to what promises to be a storied career and the 42 year-old director has yet to find any gear but fifth. It’s as if his apprenticeship pacifying the ADD generation has inculcated a native fear of flipping. The heart-stopping second act of Abrams’ underrated M:I-III is a real-time mercy dash that would even leave Bourne breathless. For his latest mission impossible, Abrams sustains this improbable pace for even longer: Star Trek — yes, your dad’s Star Trek — moves like a racehorse that’s just been force-fed dilithium crystals.
Advance word that Abrams’ franchise reboot would witness fulfilment of the near-mythical Starfleet Academy project proves misplaced. The director and his Trekkie-credentialed writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, are so impatient to pitch their neophyte crew into full-blown battle that the Academy years are largely covered by a single title card — “Three Years Later”. Phasers permanently set on stun are not much fun, after all.
From the moment ‘Bones’ McCoy comically smuggles an academically suspended Kirk onto Captain Pike’s U.S.S. Enterprise, Star Trek XI hits warp factor IX and, save for an obligatory sojourn with Spock senior, maintains a velocity that would give Scotty night terrors. This is perhaps NCC-1701’s most radical refit yet — for the first time in the franchise, the Enterprise is a genuine thrill-ride.
Not that the crew are just along for the V-necks. Abrams can do character on the run and the plot deftly deals in decent-sized roles for all of the famous seven. Karl Urban’s gruff McCoy and Zachary Quinto’s piercing Spock stand out, and despite internet rumbling, Chris Pine is also absolutely fine. Of course, as you might expect, the acting mostly requires shouting declarative Trekbabble or wedging witticisms between set-pieces, but both Bruce Greenwood’s stoic Captain Pike and Eric Bana’s wounded Nero forage earthier notes amid the SFX sheen.
That Trek weakness for warping plotlines does bring the usual convolutions, but whenever the Vulcan side of your brain is tempted to pose frequently asked questions about time travel, the breakneck pace drags you forward through the movie’s own brisk running time. On the downside, Abrams is not quite able to apply the brakes in time for the third act, which prematurely climaxes before you have time to drink it in. Kirk has a nice Indy moment and the Enterprise does a good impression of the Millennium Falcon in the Battle Of Yavin, but Spock’s dogfight with a drill is unlikely to enter Starfleet legend — what is pointy ears doing flying anything? — and Bana’s Nero deserved at least one villain’s mulligan.
Those hoping for a battle of wits to equal Kirk and Khan — or for hardcore Trekkers, to rival the Balance Of Terror episode that introduced the Romulans — will be left wanting. This is a Sulu-sized miscalculation. The Enterprise is a handsome ship, as evidenced by the hero shot Abrams gives her in the rings of Saturn (let’s call it the screensaver), but she was built for games of Battleship, not Asteroids.
Indeed, where XI ultimately falls short of the very best Trek, or indeed of all great science-fiction since Jules Verne, is in its want of big ideas. As a MacGuffin the movie boasts red matter — like a massive snooker ball, only deadlier — but it doesn’t find enough time to showcase the grey variety.
Very much like its dynamic young cast, this Trek is physical and emotional, sexy and vital even, but it is not cerebral. The movie is not exactly empty-headed; indeed it has some smarts, but it doesn’t live up to the high-mindedness that was part of Gene Roddenberry’s original mission statement.
Where overarching themes can be discerned, they primarily relate to the nature of friendship and teamwork, which is all very well, but it’s a grunt’s eye view of battle. Even a captain would appreciate the importance of battlefield tactics and how they intersect with military strategy and, ultimately, political vision.
For anyone who has endured the longueurs of both the Star Wars prequels and Matrix sequels, the distinct lack of politicking and speechifying will doubtless come as a blessed relief, but in a time when the United States is engaged in two wars, the failure to even acknowledge the issues arising from space imperialism and the Prime Directive is to flinch from battle. Harsher critics may even deem it a dereliction of duty. Season three of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica turned half its cast into Iraqi-style insurgents — and that was on television.
Ultimately, any boldness one can attach to the going here really belongs to the rescue of the Trek franchise from cultural irrelevance. This is a not insignificant achievement. As Abrams has noted himself, making 45 year-old tricorders desirable for the iPhone generation is a hell of a tough gig. Doing this while simultaneously pandering to the doctorates in Klingon is a task of Herculean, nay Sisyphean, proportions.
But Abrams and his crew pull it off. Save for the typically muddy motives of the modern bad guy — oh, for a truly Evil Empire — there is nothing much to confuse the multiplex masses, while there are plenty of in-jokes and visual details for the forum-dwellers to chew over. More to the point, the film is sassy, young and hip in a way the franchise has not been since the ’60s. It’s neither The Hills in space nor fan fiction with a $150 million budget. Kudos is due.
There will, of course, be some disquiet from the faithful, and not just because Kirk’s birth is yucky and his besting of Kobayashi Maru comes off as cocky. Fans of the TV show will note planet-sized deviations from accepted Trek lore. To excuse their creative licence, writers Orci and Kurtzman have Uhura explain that Nero’s time-travelling misdemeanours has fashioned an “alternate reality”. It’s a nifty enough trick often used on the show, but what will really bamboozle the keepers of the canon is that unlike the many episodes that dabbled in fractured timelines, there’s no smallscreen amnesia to put things back in place for next week. The franchise has been permanently shifted to new rails: this is a world where Kirk doesn’t grow up to look like William Shatner. Trekkies had better get used to it. Welcome to the new ’verse.
The fanbase placated and a brand-new generation blooded, there is undoubtedly even better to come. The characters feel thin right now, not just because of the limited range of the new cast, but because ultimately they are characters playing characters, actors imitating icons. Once the new Enterprise crew are established in their own right and the franchise freed of all that expectation, the characters should start to feel properly human again — or at least, half-human.
Verdict Odd-number curse be gone. The most exhilarating Trek to date marks a new future for Kirk and co. If this can boldly go on to seek out ideas to match its speed and style, a franchise is reborn.
As Paramount Pictures readies the May 8 release of its “Star Trek” franchise relaunch, the studio is moving forward with a sequel, and has hired Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to pen the screenplay.
J.J. Abrams, who directed and produced the latest chapter, is onboard to produce the follow-up alongside his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk. No decision has been made yet on whether Abrams will return behind the camera for the sequel.
Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof also are receiving producing credit on the sequel.
Story is still in the embryonic stage, but the trio are aiming to deliver their script to the Melrose studio by Christmas for what would likely be a summer 2011 release.
“There’s obviously a lot of hubris involved in signing on to write a sequel of a movie that hasn’t even come out yet,” said Lindelof, co-creator with Abrams of ABC’s “Lost” who produced the upcoming “Trek” but did not contribute to Orci and Kurtzman’s screenplay. “But we’re so excited about the first one that we wanted to proceed.”
As for potential storylines, Kurtzman stressed that the writing team will wait to take a cue from fan reaction about which direction to go.
“Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month,” he said. “With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We’ll be ambitious about what we’ll do.”
Though Orci and Kurtzman have worked together as a writing team for more than 12 years, the duo has worked with Lindelof on only one screenplay: DreamWorks‘ “Cowboys and Aliens,” which they are currently writing together.
Paramount has high hopes for the “Star Trek” relaunch, and is pulling out all the stops on the marketing front. Studio began a full-scale campaign six months before the film’s May bow.