Star Trek 2-week Box Office Analysis

Yesterday Star Trek finished its first two weeks at the box office. Although films can stay in theaters for months, in general they tend to make over half of their money in those first two weeks, so today we take an in depth look at how the new Star Trek movie is performing relative to other recent films, both domestically and internationally

 

Star Trek is playing with the big boys domestically
On Thursday, Star Trek came in second place in the domestic box office with with $3.0M (again beating Angels & Demons). Terminator Salvation won its opening day with $13.4M. This brings Star Trek’s domestic take up to $161.6M in its first two weeks. This is of course the best performance of any film in Trek franchise history. Even adjusting for inflation, the closest 2-week performance would be Star Trek First Contact at $104.8M.

The new Star Trek has moved up to a new level, now ranking amongst some of the top tier films (although still not in the same league as mega blockbusters like Star Wars). Here is a chart showing how Star Trek’s first two weeks compares to other recent big genre/action movies (with the last Trek movie thrown in for comparison). It also notes the eventual total gross of the other films.

Star Trek still has life in it and prediction sites are guessing it could pull in around $30M+ over the 3-day weekend, which would bring its 3-week total up to around $200M. After that it is anyone’s guess but Paramount has predicted it will end up around $250 (according to Deadline Hollywood). The film is already falling somewhere between Iron Man and Batman Begins which ended up with $318M and $205M respectively, so Paramount’s estimate sounds about right (maybe a little optimistic).

A question has come up regarding if the new Star Trek will be the highest grossing Star Trek film of all time, after adjusting for inflation. Right now the top film is The Motion Picture, which has a gross of $239M in today’s dollars. It is possible for Star Trek to top that, however comparing today’s movies to those from the pre home video era is a bit of apples and oranges as films opened in fewer theaters, but but stayed in theaters much longer. Domestic box office gross was a much bigger part of films total income back in those days. But even then Star Trek was swamped by Star Wars. TMP took in $82M in 1979 and a year later The Empire Strikes Back brought in $209M.

Star Trek overseas – mixed
So far we only have the first two weekends for Star Trek in most of its markets, but it has earned $76.8M overseas. It still has to open in some markets, including Japan so we don’t have the full story yet, but there are some things that can be gleaned from the first couple of weekends. Basically the film has done well in markets where Trek has done well in the past, but not as well in markets that are new or where Trek is less known.

As a point of illustration, here are charts from four markets, each telling a different story.

UK: The pattern is most similar to the US, with Star Trek performing in the same league as Batman Begins and even Iron Man. Casino Royale is the kind of film that plays better overseas than it does domestically (and especially in the UK). The pattern in Australia and New Zealand is also similar as Star Trek is well known in the English speaking world.

 

Germany: This has traditionally been Star Trek’s best non-English speaking market. The Star Trek film opened strongly in Germany and it is actually the only country in the world (including the US) where Star Trek opened with a bigger weekend than Wolverine. Trek is actually doing better than other recent films like Batman Begins and Iron Man, but is still dwarfed by global brands like Star Wars and James Bond. It is interesting that Star Trek is actually only outpeforming Nemesis by around 25%, but it is worth noting that these numbers are after currency conversion and the Euro was about 20% weaker back in 2003 when Nemesis opened in Germany.  

 

France: And here is where Star Trek is struggling. Star Trek in France is underperforming all recent Hollywood action blockbusters, and the same pattern can be seen in other countries in Europe and around the world (including Brazil). The one ray of hope is that this new movie is doing a lot better than the last Trek film. In France Nemesis opened and closed in the same weekend making only $270k (hardly worth the effort).  

 

Korea: South Korea is another weak territory for Trek in the past. Paramount didn’t even bother opening Nemesis there. So the new Star Trek is actually doing pretty well considering. Compared to other films like Batman Begins and even the last Star Wars film. Of course if they put some giant robots in the movie, it might be able to compete like Transformers. Star Trek opens in Japan next weekend, which will be the next big test in Asia.  

 

Bottom Line: Star Trek is bigger than ever – can be even bigger
There can be no doubt that this Star Trek movie is a hit and the sequel seems all but certain at this point, with probably the only question being the scale of the film.  Batman Begins was always the model for Star Trek. Both films had similiar budgets and similar objectives (of reinvigorating franchises), and the films seem to be following a similar performance pattern pattern as well. Batman Begins topped out at $373M globally with $205M coming from domestic sales. Star Trek will likely end up with a similar total, but with more coming from domestic and less from overseas. Both films lay a new foundation for their respective franchises And last year Warner Bros. showed how far they could go with their follow-up film The Dark Knight which brought in over $1B worldwide. Of course that may be too high a hurdle for Star Trek 2 (aka unnamed ‘Star Trek’ sequel), but with some foreign sales building on the first one, maybe Trek could break into the $1/2 billion club next time.

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KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great news! Love to hear that the guys are already talking about the sequel!

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh.. Go Red Wings!!! (sorry, great game)

It’ll be interesting to see (A) if the film has legs and (B) if the resulting trilogy of features ends up competing with other recent big-ticket genre-trilogy franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, or Spider-Man.

… And if it does, it’ll be interesting to see what that means to Star Trek in the long run, because once there’s financial incentive to do a thing a certain way, that can become inviolate law in Hollywood and have a hard-chill effect on the future creativity of a franchise.

But for now, it’s nice to know that folks like Simon Pegg and Zoe Saldana will be eating at their favorite restaurants :)

WWOOOOOO!!!!

You mean it hasn’t proved that it has legs already?

That’s very good news.

Correction: TMP was actually 2nd in 1979, with $82M.
And I believe Paramount is right. If you get the ticket sale percentage day by day for both Iron Man and Batman Begin and apply to ST 2009’s first weekend, you get the exact numbers ST is doing (actually ST is doing slightly better than that). So if ST keeps following the pattern it should indeed hit $250M by week 8 or so.

8 wooo!

great! now paramount took the screensaver off the official website altogether! I wanted it!

How many theaters did TMP open in compared to the other films in ’79?
And how many theaters did Trek ’09 open in compared to the other films that you are comparing it to?

And being even bolder, I predict that ST 2009 will end as the #1 movie of May this year, beating TS and UP. IMHO the only possible surprise would be NATM2, which is kind of a question mark till we see this weekend numbers.

It’s interesting. Because at some point, a member or members of the cast probably won’t be doing another movie.

So a television series with a continuing set of characters, like the original show, probably won’t be these guys. A real trick would be keeping everyone together for a number of years. Let’s try five. Make seasons of adventures.

That would be hard, but cool.

Of course, let’s see those three movies first.

No TV. Keep with the movies at least for a decade. Don’t oversaturate Star Trek again.

#5: It’s only been out for a couple of weeks; there’s no way to know yet (sure, we can make optimistic predictions, but that’s a long way from anything being proven … in summertime especially, it’s not at all unusual for a film to make Fat Cash, have a blockbuster 14-day showing and still have basically no legs at all. No shame in it).

#12: Yeah, and it’s not too unlikely to imagine a full-scale cast exodus once the trilogy is done, since that’s the way most franchise contracts are structured these days (where everything gets renegotiated after the trilogy) …

Love these Star Trek crewmembers, by all means … but don’t get attached. This is not the dawning of the Pine/Quinto/Urban era; this is (at least, this is very likely) the dawn of the New Actors/Every Third/Movie era. :)

But that could be cool.

It’s funny how the Star Wars prequels made so much money, especially considering how awful they were.

#16: Power of franchise. Simple as that. I swear lots of fans saw ’em 10 times each just in hopes of _convincing_ themselves they loved them. Or hoping maybe it’d click the next time …

This is not a unique phenomenon.

Great article, Anthony.

Do the BOM numbers include countries which are NOT mentioned on the site? Many are listed as ‘n/a. Canada is surprisingly absent. Is it lumped into ‘domestic?’

Also, what is the deal with China, India, Arabia, SE Asia and Indonesia? It’s a massive chunk of the world’s population. Do they traditionally get western films like Trek09?

Some of us here are hoping the film brings trek up a few notches to a true tentpole again. It looks like it’s happening, thank goodness.

Request for Sequel: JJ, please return to the orginal Stardate system rather than your new way of counter stardates.

13: vva:

In Europe, the TNG films made up a higher percentage of overall gross sales across all films hovering between 36% and 38% of worldwide gross. STVI only mustered 22.6%, and Trek09 is over 32%.

It could be that having an active TV show in these markets acted as an ongoing ad campaign for the franchise. For sure, the gross sales numbers overseas are much higher than they were then, but it shows that Nouveau TOS needs continued investment abroad.

@ 16. Yea, i hear you ! I guess they really marketed it well and considering the original Star Wars movies were just huge and good. I doubt the Star Wars franchise will make as much money again if they made any more movies.

@19. I disagree. I like the new stardate system. People actually understand what year is. It gives some reality and feel to the moment. Example… Stardate 2534.54 . person: “Wow… thats wayyy into the future” …. On the otherhand… if they use the complicated system used for the past treks… it might confuse some non-trek fans. It hence forth becomes more of a gimmick rather then adding actual feel and reality to the scene.

#19: The original stardate “system” was “type random numbers, remember to include a decimal somewhere, and call it a stardate.” The original idea seems to have been _avoiding_ pinning Star Trek down to a specific century. Later on, a stardate system was adopted (for TNG? I think? somewhere around there …) and retconned onto Trek history with a wave of the hand. I think the standard gobbledygook at the time was that stardates usually follow x format, but different points in space-time can adjust the number to the point where it reads like they’re just making it up as they go :)

So there is no original system, and this isn’t the first time stardates have been arbitrarily altered by the whim of those running the current incarnation of the show.

That said, I’m with you: I like the idea of Star Trek being set an indeterminate time in the future, without specific dates bogging down the canon.

Love the new Stardate system… it IS a specific point in the future, and understanding that gives realism and meaning to what those brave souls of the future are doing… Love it. JJ has struck just the right chord, AND he has given us a path back to the Shat! No need for Kirk to die ignominiously on some small planet of some small system saving a few million people courtesy of the new timeline. If Kirk dies, it should be for BILLIONS of people… Get real folks! Bob, Alex & JJ, I can’t wait for the next movie!

“Right now the top film is The Motion Picture, which has a gross of $239M in today’s dollars.”

Save that it seems they stopped reporting totals earlier in those days; a more accurate figure may be $290M or higher.

[ http://www.thecaptainkirkpage.com/trekcom.html ]

The current one is also underperforming in foreign markets relative to the first one.

personal i like to see three more trek movie with the same actor then start back on tv in the prime universe after for me trek is ment to be on tv the best trek story have been from tv

Yeah, the new stardate system is better IMO, it got a bit ridiculous in TNG when Patrick Stewart was forced to start the show with, “Captain’s Log, stardate 4659758965765886652234.234543………aaaagghhh”

I’m very glad the new movie is doing well at the box office – although I swear it could’ve been marketed so much better here in the UK. The movie is a great fun blockbuster movie, but PLEASE can we have a more thoughtful sequel, with some good ol’fashioned exploration.
I would love a Master and Commander-esque (esp. Desolation Island) movie.

18- China’s censors allow roughly 20 foreign films into the country’s cinemas every year. The approved list usually includes mindless action films that’s deemed sufficiently “apolitical.” The good news is Abrams’ Star Trek is considered harmless and lacking in any social commentary by the PRC. And thus, it has been approved for viewing by the masses. The bad news is intellectual piracy (of approved and banned films alike) is so pervasive that few Chinese bother to go to the movie theater at all. They’d just pick up a bootleg copy of it for 50 cents on the street. When all is said and done, Star Trek will probably make only around 10-15 million in China. This is the typical haul for a Hollywood summer flick there. China also has a successful home grown film industry, as recent victories in the foreign film category at the Academy Awards can attest to. So, that’s going to drag down the numbers as well. All the other countries on your list are not terribly profitable for some combination of the same reasons. For example, there are serious problems with censorship in much of the Muslim world. Although they’re less sensitive to political dissent, they’re pretty ruthless when it comes to banning films for “immorality.” Kirk’s flirting with Uhura and his subsequent sexual escapades at the Academy are definitely not OK in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Yemen. And Star Trek has been banned in those countries. It is showing in some of the… Read more »

I really wish that people would stop paying attention to Box Office numbers.

If the Box Office numbers are good enough, the studio will make another film -regardless of whether the original movie is any good. This is a business, pure and simple.

We need to hope that they pay more attention to the essence of Trek and stop retreading storylines from TOS or movies like WoK.

Judging from the fact that the KABLO supreme court is also behind the latest Transformers effort, I think we can surmise that Star Trek XII is going to continue avoiding numerals (Roman or Arabic) and go something like — Star Trek: The Future Continues or Star Trek: Start to Remember Some of the Things You Forgot When We Told You to Forget It All.

That was great reading, Anthony.

Regarding France, believe me, Star Trek 2009 looks like some kind of triumphant return.

The franchise was such a low thing here since the The Wrath Of Khan. The Voyage Home, Trek’s other great success, was seen by a mere 40,000 people and The Final Frontier was not even released. All Next Gen movies where in the 20,000 / 30,000 range. I don’t even know if that king of box office results covered the costs of distributing the films here.

In the minds of most people, Star Trek is only a geeky B-movie kind of thing. The main reason: Star Trek The Original Series started in France when T.J. Hooker started in the US… long after Star Wars was released. So you can imagine it could never seen as a precursor.

So for J.J.’s movie just to be considered potentially reaching one million admissions here is quite extraordinary. It’s really a mark of the new team’s success.

I’ll take advantage of this post to thank Mr. Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman and the cast and crew for delivering first-class entertainment.

#30

How about, “Star Trek: The Last One Was All a Dream Spock Had in the Sonic Shower” ?

#28: “[…] Abrams’ Star Trek is considered harmless and lacking in any social commentary by the PRC.”

I only wish I could disagree.

Ah France…
Jean-Luc Picard would be ashamed!

You bet he would!

Many of the actors appearing in Star Trek are contracted for three films. However, this feature was never considered by any of the parties involved as the first in a trilogy. And, most often, contracts are renegotiated for each production, regardless of how many productions are included in the initial contract.

Actually, STAR TREK (2009) is doing very bad in Germany, unfortunately. Usually, the success of a movie is measured in number of visitors for the german cinema charts. In the opening week, STAR TREK (2009) had an audience of about 420.000 people, while STAR TREK INSURRECTION had about 900.000. After the second week, it only has about 750.000 cinamagoers. It is very unlikely, that the movie will reach the performance of FIRST CONTACT or INSURRECTION (both 2.4 million people in total). Even NEMESIS will be hard to beat (1.3 million total).
One reason might be, in Germany movies generally performing bad during the summer months. And the marketing campaign was miserable. Compared to the more than 10 different TV-Spots in the United States we only had 2 or 3 Spots. And most of them had a duration of only 10 (!) seconds.

Completion:

For a better comprehansion I should add that e.g. STAR WARS Episode I had more than 8 million cinemagoers, Episode II and III both had about 5 million. Or compared to a current example: Angel & Demons had 1.1 million people, who watched it during its first week.

#37 Probably the TNG-Crew was much more popular in Germany, than the TOS-Crew ever was ( I like both, not so much “Voyager” and “Enterprise”). German fandom hit it’s highest point the nineties. Star Trek as popular like never before. Unfortunately, like BLFSiski said, the marketing campaign was really very bad. There were even more poster ads for the complete rerun of the complete movie-series on a German TV-Station at the same time Star Trek openend, than for the new film itself.

I agree with BLFSisko, the marketing campaign in germany was actually not existible. I hardly saw any ST09 trailers in TV or Cinema.
A much bigger global marketing campaign would have increased the movies gross by far.

I like the new stardate system. TOS stardates were pseudo-random, while TNG ones needed to be mentally converted with an algorithm to be undestood. Why so much pain? The new system is clear and understandable.

I really enjoy these articles, appeals to the stats junkie in me. Would like to thank trek Movie for being such an indispensible website. I have visited almost everyday since 06.

Amazing articles where the writers answer the fans questions…well done. What articles do I enjoy the most?

some big name reviews of the movie, mark Altmans was a highlight.
box office stats (obviously)
DVD and blu-ray reviews.

Would like some more sfx insights.

#41

Why not just call it “date” then. Calling it stardate is really pointless now, because it’s based on an earth calendar.

Alot of people saying the promotions in other countries where not good , but as i said before here in the Ireland it got alot of promotions, Lot of TV ads , magazine stuff, burger king star trek ads , radio competitions .

I think Star trek has done pretty well here in Ireland anyway, had a very good Weekend when it opened. Here are the some figures anyway.

http://www.irishfilmboard.ie/boxoffice/
http://www.iftn.ie/distribution/boxoffice/

#37

Well, there are certain advantages. I watched it again yesterday. There were 2 people in the cinema – including myself. That was really an interesting experience.

Author Of The Vulcan Neck Pinch For Fathers

The numbers for ST:TMP are astounding considering the rather profound and consistent early negative critical reaction the film received, which I think dampened the enthusiasm of the fan base in general. I believe TMP opened in somewhere between 700-800 theaters, and I was there in line at a local theater in December, 1979…

Think of what ST:TMP would have been had it been more of 2009’s Trek variety, or even had ST:TWoK been the first reunion movie? Talk about altering Trek’s timeline :)

Anthony,

I really must say job well done. What an interesting article loaded with great information. I love this sort of stuff. Trekmovie.com has been my home for Star Trek news for the past 3 years, and it’s because of excellent reporting like this.

Let’s hope the sequel blows this first one away!

The “Batman Begins” comparison is a good one.

This film has done a spectacular job of reestablishng the “Star Trek” brand name. I don’t think Paramount could have realistically asked for more out of the franchise this time out.

If the next film is as good as this one is a worldwide take of $500 million is not out of the question.

Anthony,

Is there any data re: a “break even” point for ST 09? From what I’ve read the movie cost over $100M to make, and then there’s promotion/advertising on top of that. What Box office would it take to cover all of these costs and still regard the movie as a financial success? Are we there yet?

# 41
But why call it Stardate, if it’s just our earth years-date? Personally, I think the older stardates sounded really off-world and futuristic.

BTW: Does somebody know what was the greatest Trek-hit in Germany? I think it was First Contact, but I’m not certain.

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