Although it was never officially announced, the new Star Trek movie was originally penciled in for summer of 2008. However, director/producer JJ Abrams wanted more time and got the film moved to Christmas 2008. Some fans have wondered if the move will hurt the film’s chances at the box office, but a look at recent history proves otherwise.
2007 another big Christmas at the movies
Even though it fell on a Tuesday, Christmas Day 2007 proved to be a popular day for the movies this year with a total domestic take for the top 12 films of around $60 million (and $229 Mil for the entire Christmas weekend of 12/21-25). This makes it one of the bigger weekends of the year, putting it on par with many weekends over the summer. The subsequent New Year’s weekend brought in $249.2 Million domestically for the top films. The top earning film for the extended Christmas weekend was National Treasure: Book of Secrets which brought in $65.4 million. The Will Smith movie I Am Legend which opened on the 14th has also been a big hit, so far bringing in over $400 Million. In recent years the big Christmas movies have all ended up bringing in over $500 Mil in total box office sales.
Last 5 big Christmas movies world wide gross
|2007||National Treasure: Book of Secrets||$281.2 Million (22 days/on track to $500M+)|
|2006||Night at the Museum||$573.6 Million|
|2005||King Kong||$550.2 Million|
|2004||Meet the Fockers||$516.6 Million|
|2003||Return of the King||$1.1 Billion|
Star Trek highly anticipated – little competition
The new Star Trek movie is clearly the ‘big’ movie for next Christmas. It has shown up on almost all the mainstream media’s ‘most anticipated movies of 2008’ lists. For example The Guardian UK cites a ‘fan base the size of the Delta Quadrant’ and E ranks it as 10th most anticipated while MSN ranks it 5th. Even though 2007 had a strong Holiday season, the film industry trade The Hollywood Reporter believes that 2008 “should be stronger.” THR also cites Trek as one of the entries expected to bring in the money, citing the franchise’s ‘built in fan base.’
Trekkies can all remember that in 2002 Star Trek Nemesis (the only bonafide Trek flop) was crushed like a bug by Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. But this time not only is Star Trek higher profile (which mean it comes with more marketing and buzz), but will have less competition. The other big film opening on Christmas Day is Disney’s family comedy Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler, but The Hollywood Reporter believes that Trek and Bedtime will appeal to different audience segments. A bigger threat could have been Angels & Demons (the sequel to the 2006 hit The Da Vinci Code) originally scheduled to open Friday December 19th, but that film has been delayed to Spring 2009 due to the WGA strike. The Day The Earth Stood Still starring Keanu Reeves should provide some competition, but that films opens on the 12th so Trek should still be dominant Christmas weekend for the action film audience.
With a budget of over $130 Million the new Star Trek movie will have to do better than any Trek film since Star Trek IV. However, that does not mean that Star Trek will need to earn like the above films or Paramount’s monster hit for 2007, Transformers (with over $700 Mil worldwide). A source at Paramount tells TrekMovie.com that Paramount are being realistic and know that the film is rebuilding a fan base. Hopes are for the film to do as well as another recent franchise reinvigoration, Batman Begins, which brought in $371 Million in 2005. By the way, adjusting for inflation the highest grossing Trek film is Star Trek The Motion Picture which made $130 Million worldwide in 1979 which works out to $377 Million in today’s dollars.
Will Christmas come early?
As mentioned before, the delay of Angels & Demons has created an a potential opening on the weekend before Christmas. TrekMovie.com has learned that there are discussions going on at Paramount to move the release of Star Trek up to the 19th. One issue is that Paramount already has a release schedule for that weekend, Revolutionary Road starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Although expected to be a big draw, as a period drama it may not be a direct competitor for the same audience. And of course Paramount could move both movies around. Another possibility under discussion is to open a day or two earlier. This kind of ‘early open’ is becoming more and more common these days. This year Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Spider-Man 3 and Transformers all opened a day or two before their originally announced premiere dates.