"Star Trek" beams up $72.5 million in first weekend

Mon May 11, 2009 7:26am EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new "Star Trek" movie beamed up an estimated $72.5 million in North American ticket sales its first weekend in theaters, dominating the box office and re-energizing a 40-year-old science-fiction franchise.

That figure far surpassed the opening grosses posted by any of the previous 10 "Star Trek" films, even when adjusted for inflation, and kept up a robust pace for the second week of Hollywood's summer moviegoing season.

Combined with $4 million grossed from Thursday evening's preview screenings, "Star Trek" tallied $76.5 million in U.S. and Canadian receipts through Sunday, according to its distributor, Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures studio.

Last weekend's top box office entry, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," still ranks as the biggest film opening so far this year, with $85 million in its first Friday-through-Sunday tally.

But the launch of "Star Trek" slashed deeply into "Wolverine's" second weekend of business, sending the superhero adventure from News Corp's NWSA.0 20th Century Fox to a second-ranked $27 million.

By comparison, "Star Trek" seems poised to hold fairly steady next weekend given that its ticket sales rose from Friday to Saturday, a sign of strong word-of-mouth buzz, said Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com.

The $130 million film ranks among the best reviewed movies of the year, and one of the most well-received by critics of all the "Star Trek" pictures.

"PLAY LONG AND PROSPER"   Continued...

<p>Zachary Quinto as Spock in a scene from "Star Trek". REUTERS/Paramount Pictures/Handout</p>