"Star Trek" breaks Imax record as purists grumble

Tue May 12, 2009 10:09pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Imax Corp said on Tuesday its "Star Trek" screenings grossed a record $8.5 million during the film's first weekend, even as some purists complained that the company's big screens were not big enough.

The hotly anticipated science fiction movie garnered $79.2 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend, and 11 percent of that figure came from Imax screens.

Imax said that was significant because its screens accounted for less than 2 percent of the venues for "Star Trek." The old record of $6.3 million was set by "The Dark Knight" last summer, although that film played on 94 Imax screens, while "Star Trek" beamed in on 138.

The "Star Trek" Imax contribution shows that moviegoers are pleased with the company's theater experience, Chief Executive Richard Gelfond told Reuters.

"There's no indication at all that the word of mouth is anything but positive," he said.

But on Tuesday, the company also faced some criticism from a Hollywood actor who wrote in an expletive-laden blog that he felt cheated when he paid $5 extra to see "Star Trek" in Imax and saw the movie on a smaller-than-expected screen.

"These new 'Imax' theaters are really just nice digital screens with good sound, but they are not Imax, in that they don't have the huge 72-foot (22-meter) gigantic screen which people would expect," said Aziz Ansari, a co-star of the new NBC show "Parks and Recreation."

The actor's comments echoed earlier criticism from purists who say Imax should re-brand its smaller screens in multiplexes to differentiate them from larger Imax screens, found mostly in museums and science centers.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Karl Urban gestures at the premiere of the movie "Star Trek" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California April 30, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>