Star Trek

Rebooting Bond with Daniel Craig was Bold. Christopher Nolan’s Reinvention of Batman was genius. But some thought it was overly-ambitious, even audacious, to attempt to restart the Star Trek franchise. It has begun to pay off already for Paramount Pictures, and there will dividends for years to come.

Read More »


Several sources at competing studios have told me that J.J. Abrams’ all-new reboot of Star Trek (Paramount), which debuted last night at 7pm at many of its 3,849 locations, may have grossed as much as $6.5M-$7.5M. Studio honchos are “locked down tight” about actual numbers, but that is in the same ballpark as Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount), which grabbed $8.8M in its previews starting at 8pm on Monday, July 2 during the summer of 2007. (What portion of ticket sales fall into Thursday and what percentage fall into Friday will likely be an open question even after final numbers are in.)
Read More »

Star Trek behind the scenes

The all-new J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek (Paramount) will win the second weekend of the Hollywood Summer Box Office season by at least a couple of light years over Fox’s fast-fading X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but some of the astronomical numbers I’ve seen floating around in the blogosphere are very over-heated. Make no mistake, this movie will open extraordinarily well, but it’s not going to play out as a typical front-loaded blockbuster. Moviegoers need time to shake off the disappointment of the final TV series Enterprise (starring Scott Bakula and canceled after four seasons) and the disastrous 2002 final film Star Trek: Nemesis ($43.3M domestic). It will take time for a new generation of fans to discover the magic of Gene Rodenberry’s vision of the future through Abrams’ magical lens.

Read More »

Wolverine Poster

In my Final Weekend Tracking column posted on Wednesday, I predicted that X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox) would reach $92M on opening weekend, despite soft reviews (now only 38% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). My first fearless forecast of the 2009 summer blockbuster season appears to be close to dead-on (missed by only 5%).

Star-turned-producer Hugh Jackman has scored his second-biggest opening ever and, easily, his biggest as a solo star. Wolverine has mauled the competition with a massive $34.75M opening day (including $5M or so in Thursday midnight sales). That could translate to a 3-day of $86.8M, getting Hollywood’s most lucrative season off to a spectacular start.

The X-Men spin-off, which has been made for substantially less than the $210M budget ponied up for to produce 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, becomes the all-time fourth-best first-weekend-of-May opening, trailing only Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M), the original 2002 Spider-Man ($114.8M) and last May’s Iron Man ($98.6M). Wolverine has also posted one of the top seven opening days ever for a comic book adaptation.
Read More »


The great thing about a sequel is that it has a built-in audience. The problem with sequels is that, as the numbers after the title go up, so does the production budget. Very hard to know for sure, but sources have told me that the production budget for X-Men was in the $75M range. X-2: X-Men United may have had a budget of about $110M, while the cost of X-Men: The Last Stand was, in all likelihood, as much as $210M. Why doesn’t it make sense to just churn out X-Men 4?
Read More »


Recording superstar Beyonce Knowles is building a bankable resume for herself as an actress with Sony Screen Gems’ Obsessed as the latest title burnishing her resume. Co-starring the excellent Idris Elba (The Wire), this low budget, PG-13 genre pic has scored a far-above-expectations $11M on Friday, and it will likely reach $27.5M for the weekend. That is the best opening yet for the former Destiny’s Child lead vocalist as an above-the-title star, topping 2003’s The Fighting Temptations and Cadillac Records from late 2008.
Read More »

Box Office Tracking: Hollywood’s Worst Release Date

The final weekend of April has never been Hollywood’s favorite release date. In fact, it is generally considered to be among the worst release dates on the calendar. Whatever opens on the final weekend of April gets absolutely crushed by the official start of the summer blockbuster season on the first weekend of May.

The 3 new wide releases and 1 major specialty release set to debut this weekend will face an onslaught of mega-hits over the next month. How can Obsessed (Sony), The Soloist (Dreamworks/Paramount), Earth (Disney) and The Informers (Senator) possibly find an audience with X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox) and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Warner Bros) arriving next weekend followed by, in successive weeks, Star Trek (Paramount), Angels & Demons (Sony), the combo of Night at the Museum 2 (Fox) and Terminator: Salvation (WB) and Disney/Pixar’s Up?

Read More »

hannah montana

She has a hit TV show on the Disney Channel, a pair of albums that have debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, a concert tour with 69 sold-out arenas in North America, and now a second #1 movie in as many years. Miley Cyrus is the biggest teen star in the world.

With most of Hollywood (including myself) expecting an opening in the mid-$20M’s for Hannah Montana The Movie (Disney), Miley has surprised “grown-ups” with her box office clout once again. The picture opened with $15M on Good Friday, and it could reach an estimated $33.6M by the end of Easter weekend, making it the all-time #2 opening for the bunny holiday weekend.

Read More »

observe and report

Easter weekend 2009 will almost certainly be an all-time record-breaker for Hollywood with a pair of new releases that could be among the top six bunny holiday openings of all time. Although neither Hannah Montana: The Movie (Disney) or the new R-rated comedy Observe & Report (Warner Bros) will challenge 2006’s all-time Easter weekend opening champion Scary Movie 4 ($40.2M), both new offerings look very solid in pre-release industry tracking, and they will be joined by some strong holdovers.

Universal’s Fast & Furious is likely to cross the finish line first for a second consecutive weekend, following up last weekend’s almost $71M with about $30M, which would mark a 58% drop. Still, it must be considered a triumph that the re-teaming of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez may have $120M in US sales after just 10 days. That will mean that Fast & Furious will have almost doubled the domestic gross of The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift (the last film in the franchise), and this souped-up thrill ride could be headed for $160M US.
Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:


With 400,000 Americans showing up every year at the Indy 500 and 200,000 more buying tickets to see NASCAR’s premiere event The Daytona 500, you would think that the most creative minds in Hollywood would be looking for a way to cash in with more movies about car racing and car culture. NASCAR has an estimated 75 million fans, and it is second only to the National Football League in terms of television ratings, so where are all the good racing movies?

Universal seems to have answered that question by getting its successful street racing franchise back into the fast lane this weekend with Fast & Furious. The movie, which reunites Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez for the first time since 2001’s original surprise blockbuster, has exploded to a high octane $28M or so on Friday and that could mean a $65M opening weekend. That would make it the all-time #1 opening for a car racing movie.

1. Fast & Furious (2009) – $65M opening (projected)
2. Cars – $60.1M opening
3. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) – $50.4M opening
4. Talladega Nights – $47M opening
5. The Fast & The Furious (2001) – $40M opening
6. The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) – $24M opening
7. Speed Racer – $18.5M opening
8. Days of Thunder – $15.5M opening
9. Herbie: Fully Loaded – $12.7M opening
10. Death Race – $12.6M opening

Read More »