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Weekend Box Office: All the fun of Star Trek with none of the thinking

Star Trek Beyond (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Opening weekend—the final frontier. These are the voyages of the rebooted Star Trek film series. Its seven-year mission: to exploit strange new forms of nostalgia; to seek out new audiences and new demographic quadrants; to boldly go where successful modern media franchises have gone before.

The Paramount film series seems to have tried a different blockbuster formula for every film, with diminishing returns. Star Trek (“imitation Star Wars salad”) opened to $75 million; Star Trek Into Darkness (“post-Nolan blockbuster with 9/11 references and a villain who gets himself caught on purpose”) made $70.1 million; and now Star Trek Beyond (“basically Fast & Furious”) has opened to $59.6 million.


That’s still a huge sum of money, and no small feat on one of the busiest weekends in recent memory: For only the third time in a decade, every movie in the top five made over $20 million. No. 2 went to the surprisingly successful talking animal movie (no, not that one) The Secret Life Of Pets, which made $29.3 million on its third weekend after two weeks at No. 1. Presumably, this means that we can expect the next Star Trek (Star Trek More? Star Trek Premium?) to be recast with adorable little furry things who are just like people.

Cruelly cursed to be a discussion flashpoint on the internet and yet never see No. 1, the rebooted Ghostbusters landed in third place $21.6 million, trying with non-comedic, way-more-modestly-budgeted horror movie Lights Out. It’s quite a weekend when a movie can make $21 million and still be a resounding flop, which is what happened to Ice Age: Collision Course. The fifth, sixth, or possibly seventh movie in Blue Sky Studios’ Ice Age series (set in space this time, maybe?) bombed domestically, earning less than half the opening weekend of whatever the last Ice Age movie was called. (Was it Continental Drift or something?) Anyway, it’s a low for the once reliably money-making series, whose billboards always look like someone just forgot to take down the ads for the last one.

We know, dear reader, that what you’re really hungry to see are specialty box office figures. Hillary’s America: The Secret History Of The Democratic Party, the latest trip into the delusional ego of Dinesh D’Souza, got into the No. 9 spot with roughly $3.8 million. Meanwhile, Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice earned the highest per-theater average of the year to date, making $90,000 on a single screen thanks to the shadowy support of deep-pocketed New York elites. Woody Allen’s Los Angeles-set Café Society, a disgusting display of flagrant collusion between East Coast intellectuals and Hollyweird (get it?) money men, averaged an impressive $17,500 per theaters as it began a modest expansion.

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