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Weekend Box Office: Star Trek Beyond Dethrones Pets, Lights Out Lights Up, Ice Age Collapses

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By Chris Kavan - 07/24/16 at 06:13 PM CT

It was a great weekend for Hollywood as, led by the latest Star Trek film, for only the sixth time in history (and the first since May 24, 2015) the top five film all grossed over $20 million. That meant the top 12 earned $183 million, which was up an impressive 29.4% compared to the same weekend last year. While not all films have something to celebrate (sorry Ice Age and Ghostbusters), overall it was a big win all around.


Star Trek Beyond was the clear winner of the weekend with a $59.6 million opening. While that is a good opening, it is still well below the opening of both the original Star Trek ($79.2 million in 2009) and its sequel Into the Darkness ($83 million with an extra day thrown into account). Still, the film did earn a solid "A-" from the audience which was 57% male and 73% over 25. Like so many films this summer it has done well but it might not do well enough. With a $185 million budget, Beyond is only looking at around a $175-$185 million and will once again need a good international run to really make its money back. A fourth film is already in the works, so I don't think the series is in jeopardy but I have to think studios will take a good look at this film, Tarzan and Ghostbusters and just might ease back on the budgets a bit in the future. I really enjoyed this one myself - it felt like it captured the Star Trek spirit. It faces direct competition from Jason Bourne next week (with Suicide Squad not far behind) so we'll see how the legs hold out from here.


After five weeks atop the box office chart, an animated film finally had to take the back seat to live action once again. Still, The Secret Life of Pets shows little sign of slowing down as it brought in $29.3 million in its third week and was down just 42.3%. That gives the film a new total of $260.7 million and will top $275 million by next weekend easily and is still looking at a domestic total above $300 million. That total also moves it ahead of the first Despicable Me film as well as topping The LEGO Movie. It has earned a mild $63 million overseas as it continues to expand, but that $323.6 million global total looks pretty good next to its $75 million budget. This one is a clear winner all around and everything from here on out is just icing on the cake.


While Paul Fieg's female-driving Ghostbusters reboot had an admirable opening weekend, the second-week drop looks a bit foreboding. At $21.6 million, Ghostbusters took a higher-than-expected 53.1% hit. That's on the high end for a Melissa McCarthy film - more in line with The Boss than anything else, and expectations now have to lowered. With $86.8 million in the bank, Ghostbusters is now looking at a best-case scenario of $150 million instead of $175 or higher. And that's if it can keep chugging along, if it continues to lose steam, it might only hit around $135 million. Once again, the $144 million comedy will have to bank on foreign help to justify a sequel - which I guarantee will have a more modest budget should it materialize.


The big hero of the week wasn't the crew of the USS Enterprise, no, it was a small horror gem that managed to open big. Lights Out, directed by David F. Sandberg (who directed the original short as well) with help from horror maestro James Wan (who helped produce it) opened to the tune of $21.6 million (in a tie with Ghostbusters - Monday will tell which film ultimately comes out on top). That's great news for the horror film, as it only cost $4.9 million up front. I wasn't sure if a short could be expanded to full-length and still retain enough of a story but horror audiences were suitably impressed. It also earned $8.3 million international. The film is looking at a likely $50 million domestic and having already earned back 6x its budget, it will be a bright spot for Warner Bros. and proves that horror is just as strong in summer (see also The Conjuring 2 and Purge: Election Year) as it is in October when you would more likely expect it.


It turns out, there is only room for so many family films at once and that there will be consequences when your cup runneth over. With Secret Life of Pets continuing its great run and Finding Dory still showing impressive legs that left Ice Age: Collision Course out in the cold. The fifth film in the franchise could only muster a $21 million opening. That is by far the worst opening for the series - well below the previous low of $41.69 million of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and down a whopping 55% compared to the last film, Ice Age: Continental Drift. Still, the bread and butter of the Ice Age films has been its foreign grosses and thus far Collision Course has earned $178.9 million overseas. If it continues on this course it will probably only earn around $75 million in America but could still be looking at over $400 million total worldwide based on the past numbers. That's still a pretty good result for a film with a $105 million budget.

Outside the top five: Expanding nationwide Dinesh D'Souza latest propogan... I mean "documentary" Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party earned $3.7 million from over 1200 theaters, jumping from 37th to 9th place. The film comes amidst both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and if it performs like D'Souza's America: Imagine the World Without Her, it will top out in the $10-$15 million range. And it pains me to report that.

In milestone news The Purge: Election year crossed the $75 million mark with a $2.35 million weekend (12th place) and a new $76.5 million total. Independence Day: Resurgence crossed $100 million with a new total of $101.2 million and The BFG just managed to cross $50 million - neither film is likely to celebrate those numbers, however.

In limited release in just a single theater, the improv-based comedy Don't Think Twice brought in the year's best limited release with $90,126 - and landed as one of the best limited release opening of all time (in-between The Tree of Life and The King's Speech at the number 32 position).

Next week brings us the action-packed Jason Bourne (Matt Damon is back, bitches!) along with the thriller Nerve and the R-rated, female-driven Bad Moms.


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