Weekend Report: ‘Star Trek’ Takes Off, ‘Lights Out’ Shatters Expectations

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It was a very busy weekend at the box office, and moviegoers decided to spread the wealth, with five different films all making over $20 million this weekend. Among the newcomers, Star Trek Beyond took in a solid if unspectacular $59 million, but the real story was newcomer horror film Lights Out, which was able to make more than fellow newcomer Ice Age: Collision Course, which flopped in fifth place with just $20 million.

Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, and took in an estimated $59.6 million in its opening weekend. Among its predecessors, Star Trek Into Darkness opened about $10 million higher, but it also opened on Thursday instead of Friday. Overall, this wasn’t a great start, but it was enough to avoid being labeled a disappointment. With a steady stream of competition in the next few weeks, look for Star Trek to finish with around $160 million.

In second, The Secret Life of Pets continued to do well, bringing in an additional $29 million. Despite being in its third week of release, that’s $9 million higher than Ice Age did in its opening weekend.

Third and fourth place were too close to tell; literally. Both Ghostbusters and Lights Out were estimated to take in the exact same amount, $21.6 million. This is extremely unusual, but my guess is that Lights Out edges out Ghostbusters by just a hair.

Regardless of which place it came in, Lights Out still did phenomenally well in its opening weekend. Carrying a production budget of just $4.9 million, the film pulled in a whopping $21.6 million, a fantastic start for a PG-13 horror film with no brand recognition or recognizable stars attached. This great start can be attributed to the films fantastic marketing, which did a great job of making the simple yet effective premise known in the first 30 seconds, in which a woman walking around an eerie textile factory sees some sort of figure that can only appear in the dark. Often times the most successful horror films are ones with some sort of simple, easily marketable premise. That isn’t everything, however; the film genuinely looked scary, and an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes likely convinced any skeptics to check it out. Director David Sandberg has already been picked up to helm Annabelle 2, set for release next may.

Continuing in the trend of disappointing sequels, Ice Age: Collision Course bombed with just $20 million all the way down in fifth place. Considering the $105 million production budget and recognizable franchise, this is a terrible start. Even with competition from Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, there’s really no reason as to why any animated film from a major studio should open with less than $30 million. Even The Angry Birds Movie managed to pull in nearly double this, despite being based on a phone game that peaked in popularity years ago. This could wind up being another Warcraft, grossing over $400 million worldwide with only around 10% of which coming from the domestic market.

Several new noteworthy releases came out in the specialty market, including the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, which took in a solid $1.88 million from 313 theaters. Indian film Kabali grossed $4 million from 236 theaters since its excellent start on Wednesday. The only problem is that it was absurdly front loaded, making nearly half of that just from Wednesday alone, when it opened in third place. Hillary’s America expanded into nationwide release, making a solid $3.7 million from over 1,200 theaters. That’s a solid start for a documentary, and was likely aided by the Wikileaks release of over 20,000 DNC emails. That’s just lucky timing, but it will still probably gross over $10 million by the end of its run. Don’t Think Twice opened exclusively in one theater, and pulled in a phenomenal $90K. Given that the film is about a sketch comedy show, and New York is obviously the filming location of Saturday Night Live, the connection makes sense.

Among various holdovers, The Purge: Election Year became the highest grossing film in the series domestically, with an excellent $76 million and counting. Independence Day: Resurgence finally topped $100 million, but that’s really nothing to celebrate given that the first film did that in a matter of about 4 days when adjusted for inflation.