Final Numbers In – Star Trek Breaks Franchise & IMAX Records + Outperforming Batman Begins

We now have the final opening weekend box office numbers for "Star Trek" and the results are quite impressive. Not only did the film out-pace initial expectations, but it even out-performed studio estimates en route to a $79,204,289 opening weekend + $35.5M from foreign box office.  Head on through the jump for extended details and analysis.



The Thursday night previews for "Star Trek" (from 7:00pm-midnight) generated $4 million.  That spring-boarded into a Friday opening day of $26.89M (including 12:01 screenings), a 1% bump on Saturday to $27.25M and a drop of just 23% to $21.06M on Sunday for what amounts to a Fri-Sat-Sun gross of $75.2M and $79.2M overall when including Thursday night screenings.  That figure more than easily clears initial internal expectations by Paramount Pictures — $50-60M — and thanks to the strong Sunday performance (studio estimates had projected a dip to around $18.3M), it out-performed the studio estimates released on Sunday ($76.5M).  Here’s the daily breakdown with the final actual numbers (via Box Office Mojo):

  • Thursday: $4.0M ($4.0M cume)
  • Friday: $26.89M ($30.89M)
  • Saturday: $27.25M ($58.14M)
  • Sunday: $21.06M ($79.20M)

The fact that the film outperformed the tracking estimates is significant, as is the fact that it managed growth on Saturday —  albeit slight — because that gives us hints that — at least for the time being — it’s playing well with more than just the hardcore fan base.  The same holds true for the film’s Sunday performance.  It had expected to drop in the more common 30% range, but it managed to stave off a huge decline and slid down just under 23%.  One negative that should be noted is that exit data shows the audience makeup was less than desirable for a mainstream hit: 60%/40% male-female, and 65% of the audience was 25 years or older.

Moving back to the numbers, if you focus just on the opening day figure, "Star Trek" more than doubled the previous best for the franchise which was set by "Star Trek: First Contact" in 1996 ($13M.  That holds even when adjusted for inflation: approximately $21.1M).

Sets IMAX Record
While none of the above numbers set any general box office records, there is one figure within the numbers that did just that: its performance in IMAX theaters.  Playing in 138 of the large-screen venues, "Star Trek" set a new opening weekend record of $8.5M, with nearly 11% of its gross attributed to IMAX theaters.  That beats previous record-holder "The Dark Knight" ($6.3M) by nearly a third.

Crushing Franchise Record
So how does this opening weekend relate to past "Star Trek" films? In a word: outstanding.  Unadjusted for inflation, the previous best opening weekend for a "Star Trek" film belonged to 1996’s ‘First Contact’ which grossed $30.72M from 2,812 theaters. 

Many will point out, and correctly, that it’s unfair to judge "Star Trek" solely against unadjusted for inflation numbers.  For that reason, and for a little more perspective, I’ve also put together the following graph charting the performance of all past domestic opening weekends for the franchise adjusted for inflation:

As you can see, not only did "Star Trek" easily best "Star Trek: First Contact" unadjusted for inflation, it also did so when you adjust for inflation.  In fact, the opening weekend performance of "Star Trek" is even more spectacular when you take into account the average opening weekend of all the prior films adjusted for inflation: doubly better at approximately $34.61M.

One last bit of perspective, adjusting for inflation, the last Star Trek film "Nemesis" made $53.4M after its entire domestic run in 2002. JJ Abrams new "Star Trek" has already far exceeded that, probably surpassing it sometime Saturday afternoon.

Performing better than other recent ‘franchise reboots’
Of course Paramount is looking for "Star Trek" to perform as well as other recent ‘franchise reboots’, with "Batman Begins" often cited as an example of how to do it right (with both films also have similar budgets). The good news is that the opening weekend is actually better than the other ‘reboots’ from the last four years. Here is a comparison of the domestic opening weekends for the recent ‘reboots.’

It is worth noting that those numbers are for weekends, like "Star Trek", "Superman Returns" and "Batman Begins" opened early, but both of those films opened on Wednesdays (whereas Trek had half a Thursday). When you combine the early openings, Trek (with $79.2M) comes in second behind "Superman Returns" with $84.6, but still ahead of "Batman Begins" with $72.9M. Box Office Mojo has more on "Star Trek: in their a "Franchise Reboot Battle" page.

Trek still has work to do internationally
News was less than stellar, however, in terms of foreign box office.  Variety best summed it up by saying it did "a solid rather than spectacular $35.5 million" from 54, mostly Trek-friendly, markets.  While it’s true that it still managed a first place finish, it barely out-performed second place finisher "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", which grossed $29.7M in its second weekend.  "Star Trek" was also only first in 23 of those 54 markets it opened in.  (For comparison purposes, ‘Wolverine’ was first in 22 markets worldwide and stands at $253.3M overall ($129.6M domestically). That being said, it’s important to realize that "Star Trek" is doing very well in relation to past films in the franchise, and most importantly is posting similar numbers to past ‘reboots’.  In particular, 2005’s "Batman Begins" grossed $40.7M in its opening weekend overseas and that cume was only higher than "Star Trek" because it played in more markets and screens (73 and 8,000, respectively versus 54 and 5,000 respectively).

In Summary: Trek off to big start – competition on the way
So all in all, "Star Trek" had an impressive opening weekend domestically and while its worldwide performance was OK, but not spectacular. Star Trek is very much on par with comparable reboots in film history.  Tallying in the preliminary foreign box office, "Star Trek" currently stands at $114.7M worldwide. 

Bottom line?  The short-term outlook looks great, but there are still many important indicators to keep a look at, including how it performs in its second weekend with competition coming from "Angels and Demons" and into a very competitive third weekend going up against "Terminator Salvation" and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian".  Plus foreign box office still has a ways to go, especially in the several key territories that the film has yet to open in such as Japan.

TrekMovie will continue to monitor the performance of "Star Trek".


Charts assembled with data from Box Office Mojo

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Which version of the Hulk?

I’m sure that JJ can easily take Berman’s stock phrase now… “We’re very pleased.” :)

Great job on all fronts. I say, get out there and see it again this weekend! I’m going to take some friends along, and my son (16) wants to see it again, too.

I’m sure it will continue to exceed expectations. As a matter of fact, it’s fun to see that the “Trade Experts” predicted $50 million, and it’s at $80 million instead. Just a 60% error…. shows what they know.

Who’s going to see it again a few times in these first weeks?

Nice! :)

My co-worker Dan and I are going to see it on Thursday.

Sweet! Whats next?

Wow! Nice start for the film!

First of all, good job! I’m sure i’ll see it again.

Hear! Hear!

i will be seeing it again.

I am going again this weekend . Although I will watch T4 in the theater I will wait a few weeks.

I’ve seen it 3 times. I’m sure I’ll see it 7-10 times total while it’s at the box office. I love it more and more each time I see it.

Actually, the only movie opening this week that poses a threat is “Angels and Demons”. “Terminator Salvation” and “Night at the Museum” don’t debut until Trek’s THIRD weekend.

Heres to the next one and the Blueray…

thank you for this information. its good to see broken down like this with the graphs etc. It was important for me to see how Trek is doing.

Lets hope that it continues the great start.


Seen it Thursday night regular theatre. Then on Sunday in an IMAX theatre. Just a curious note here. The IMAX was for an 11am showing, and the theatre was basically full. As I left, the 1pm lineup looked like another close sell out.

Don’t plan on seeing it again until the DVD comes out. Twice is enough.

Has anyone else noticed the IMDB ratings. Quite impressive. It is now in the top 100 films of all time for ratings at 8.6. So if you want to help that out, get on over there and input your 10’s

“60%/40% male-female, and 65% of the audience was 25 years or older.”

Now we are in an area of expertise enjoyed by Yours Truly: statistical marketing and strategy. These demographic statistics are probably not as “disappointing” as they seem. It is a well known fact that original fans of the Star Trek are now in their fifties and sixties with adult children of their own. It is further reasonable to assume these fans have a tremendous pent up demand that would, by their sheer numbers, skew the distribution. Removed from the data set however, one would likely see a much younger demographic (including the children of those older fans who might be attending simply or their fathers’ interest). In fact, this motion picture’s audience is probably binodally distributed with peaks clustering ~ 50years and another somewhere around ~17 or so — which was after all the express intent of the producers.

C.S. Lewis

I think a lot of this had to do with marketing, they did a great job in that department. Of course credit goes to JJ as well, for putting out images that were just remarkable.

I have seen the movie twice already. I WAS planning on seeing it at least 2 or 3 more times. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed with film and will not be seeing it in a theatre again.

Hopefully, now that Mr. Lindelof is on board for the sequel, he can give K/O some MUCH needed help with the script.

18 – remember this was filmed during the writer’s strike so some of the things that didn’t work for you might have been changed during filming had they been able to

I’d feel a little better if it made $90-100 million in it’s opening weekend, but $79 mil ain’t bad either.

It’s fantastic to hear about the great numbers Trek has made however i think the reason for a disappointing international run is that there’s nothing here in the UK for instants, advertising it!!!

Paramount or whoever is incharge of the advertising in this country needs to do more.

Hmm i beleive tht jj did the impossable bringing star trek at its prime jj if u read this Great job of bringing star trek back on track

Sensor sweep shows competition entering this sector. Shields up!

I hope this movie has legs. I went to an 8:00 PM DLP showing last night and there were 13 people in the theater. Not a good sign for a Sunday night.

14. Personally, I have a feeling a large majority of the audience was just north of 25. I bet there were more 25 to 40 year-olds in the audience than anything else. In both of the showings I have attended, that has been the primary audience. The main reason I think this is the case is because most of the audience from the later Trek franchises – beginning with TNG in ’87 – are heading toward the middle age mark, and they are usually more open to the newer Trek offerings. I know I am part of this audience, and I don’t think there is much of the connection with TOS as the audience that is older than 40.

As for the younger audience that Paramount was expecting, well, I think they missed their mark. The only thing the generation below 20 really has to connect them to Star Trek is Voyager, Enterprise and Nemesis. Most people would argue that those years were the downhill slide that brought us to where we were 2 years ago – thinking that Star Trek was gone from TV and the big screen. I think that generation just believed that Star Trek was something of the past that their parents liked, but not something they really bought into. Why Paramount worked so hard to get this audience with a less that 30% return makes little sense. I think the marketing department needed a few more focus groups…

Well, I’ve seen in twice, will see it again when I go to the UK on holiday. All the people I’ve seen it with liked to loved it. Also, I know a lot more people going next weekend based on the good word of mouth – even people who I never would have placed in a Trek theatre.

… and I will stay this, it is better the second time …

#23 Sean4000 – aint that the truth. Marketing brilliance to open this weekend. sandwiched in between some real heavy weights. I don’t think Trek will have another weekend like this last one – but it’s already a hit – there’s no doubt.

“I hope this movie has legs. I went to an 8:00 PM DLP showing last night and there were 13 people in the theater. Not a good sign for a Sunday night.”

Nevermind that it made $21 Million on Sunday ;)

For a Sunday Night? When people have to be up for School or Work the next day?

I did my part… Friday morning at the “normal” theater… then as coincidence would have it I was two hours away from home near an IMAX for Mother’s Day, so squeezed in a bonus viewing there Sunday night… thanks, Mom!

#28 – Of course – Sunday’s night are a decent night (at least when I worked at a theater they were.)

I saw Batman, The Watchmen at the same theater – same time on a Sunday (that’s my movie night) – and it was good crowds both times.

I’m not saying Sunday is the biggest night – it’s probably 3rd after Sat and Friday – but only 13 people? I was a little shocked was all.

1. Ignatz Mouse –
“Which version of the Hulk?”

The more recent “Incredible Hulk” with Ed Norton, not the earlier “(just plain) Hulk” with Eric Bana (Nero).

EAT IT BERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :p

25. Jtrekker – May 11, 2009

Interesting observations. I’ve yet to see the picture, waiting for a convenient opening at the local Imax cinema, which proves difficult! I did trek to the box office early Saturday morning, hoping for a no-show to replace my missed Friday reservation. The line was mostly teenagers and young college kids, a few parents scattered here and there with their broods (not unlike the boy from Hawaii’s family). I can see your estimates holding as I am very close to that 40yo mark myself and was probably among the last of my peer cohort to be influenced by Star Trek: TNG was post-graduation and came a very distant second to girls and night-life in my college town residence.

C.S. Lewis

Hey Anthony, any plans to have comments from the original surviving members’ thoughts on the film?

We already know Nimoy’s thoughts about the film. I don’t think Shatner has (or will) seen it, but I would love to read Nichols’, Koenig’s, Takei’s take on the film.

If I am not mistaken, TMP and TWoK set records in their respective times for biggest opening weekends.

16 C.S. Lewis

I am an original fan and will see my 50th this December! I take offense at your comment above.LOL!

The article brings forth good news, which I had read — but not in such detail — elsewhere.

However, let us not sit on our laurels. I plan to see this new movie again at least once this week, possibly this evening, and again this weekend.

I love this new Star Trek universe — in more than one sense.

Behold — a new dawn!

Let us redouble our efforts so that the next movie has an even bigger budget than this one.

I’ve been doing my part, telling total strangers as well as friends and family to see this film.

It’s a great day to be a fan of Trek! It’s a great day to be a fan of good movies!

yknow – ive never been able to work out just why Trek does so poorly overseas….i mean TOS and TNG was sold all over the world!

and most people know about Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise, ‘beam me up scotty,’ ‘warp speed,’ phasers etc etc just like Luke, Han, The Force, The Falcon etc

and with this film theres no excuse why its doing less than stellar BO…i mean just what *is* it about star trek the forgien market dosnt like??!!

anyway – the new films opening wkend (US) has surpassed Da Vinci Codes opening ($77m)…THE DA VINCI CODE!! think of how hyped and desperate mainstream audiences were to see that and star trek beat it!! (ok i know DVC was summer 06 and 77m is probably something like 85m now but still…)

although theres A&D and T4 coming perhaps Star Trek will do good repeat biz from fans and audiences in general so maybe the 2nd wkend drop off wont be too bad (unlike Wolverine)…plus those people who intially thought ‘star trek?! no thanks!’ might be swayed to see it by all the great reviews and WOM…

im thinking it *should* even out at about $200-250m domestic and *hopefully* about $100m overseas…

its overseas that lets Trek down every time…i mean look at the aforementioned Da Vinci Code…did about $210m domestic…yet $540m overseas!!!! – total = $750m!!!!!!!!

#24—“I went to an 8:00 PM DLP showing last night and there were 13 people in the theater. Not a good sign for a Sunday night.”

Really? On Mother’s Day?

ST09 is not exactly a Mother’s Day movie. I think it’s remarkable that it did so well on Sunday.

I saw it Friday in IMAX and Sunday in a regular theatre. The IMAX crowd was more jazzed and involved with the movie, but both audiences seemed to like it a lot. It got applause both times.

Okay, previously I predicted that opening weekend domestic would no way top $60M (thinking the $50s were the very best we could hope for), and I have been proven seriously wrong on that (though I think comparisons are only fair against other movies that _also_ had a Thursday 7PM opening …) With my prognostication credentials now safely immune from further damage, I’m going to stick my neck out all of a millimeter and once again call it low: Star Trek’s legs will not be very long.

Even adjusting for cynical views of the American moviegoing public (which we see a lot of around here), I think Star Trek is most fairly called a “thrill ride” movie, and thrill ride movies, while they are fun and can impress, lack the muscle to hang on to that bucking summertime bronco. There will be plenty of other expensive, noisy, fast-paced movies streaming into theaters every week or two, enough – I predict – to drop Trek’s numbers by some hefty percentage points on a week-to-week basis.

Me say no legs. Now call me wrong; I was plenty wrong last time, after all :)

(tongue firmly planted in cheek) Who knew that Star Trek could make money?

39. Closettrekker – “Really? On Mother’s Day?”

Really what? Yes really 13 people at a 8:00 pm show and yes really on Mother’s day.

All I am saying is that I thought I would find at least a 1/2 full theater given the hype. Are you saying I was expecting too many people there? I don’t get why people are baffled by my observations.

I have seen it twice seeing again on thurs at empire leicester sq and again on saturday,it’s brilliant-an amazing job from everyone involved.
Never witnessed so much positive feedback from cinema crowd in years..thanks to the new crew and jj for making me feel like a 10 year old boy again at the cinema!

#39 Closet, you MUST live in Mayberry. I was out and about around metropolitan LA Sunday all day and night and there were hundreds of people everywhere without their mothers doing all kinds of things that aren’t exactly “Mother’s Day” activities. Heck I did grow up in “Mayberry” and was never tethered to my mother or family all day.

Granted #24 is exhibiting specious reasoning, but by your logic opening a film on Christmas day is a bad move.

#46 – RD

No #24 is offering an observation and the hope that this film has legs – as in hoping it continues to do well.

What is up with people here? And why is this just a post board and not a real forum – can’t even quotes and replies posts easily. grrrr.

It is now safe to say Trek is Back for good. Im 40 and i have alreay seen it 3 times. Once at the Imax. I will be seeing this agin and agin and again. This movie has so much promiise for the future of Trek. In the next moves we could see everything from the Doomsday machine to veger once aagin. When you look at the reboot the time line does affect the federation and such but things like the Doomsday Machine is very possible as it comes from outside our galaxy as per what Spock said and a trip to the Terran empire universe is still possible. Theres also Gary Mithcell becoming a God like when they get to the Barrier. So with these and im sure theres many more stories that could be done for the next movie now that this trek is makeing all the Dough. Way to go Trek.

Here in Austin Texas on Thursday and Sat evening we had full theaters and the imax was also full. A frend who seen it on Sun said it was packed.

Germany’s a pretty big market, and the movie should do very well there.

Just to be safe, the German print has an extra scene with David Hasselhoff.

I believe this movie will, as you say, have legs… from word of mouth alone. glowing reviews from expert critics aside, i haven’t spoken to a single person (trek fan and non trek fan alike) who hasn’t raved about it.

batman: begins is a great model for comparison, the only difference being the rather shoddy marketing campaign “begins” had compared to the STELLAR domestic campaign for trek. as i recall, batman didn’t open to astronomical numbers (compared to other superhero films, including previous batman installments) but was carried to success mostly through word of mouth and positive reviews. it’s success led to the mammoth success of it’s sequel (as well as heath ledger’s untimely death, of course)… and i feel strongly that if Star Trek 2 X 2 is made as spectacularly as it’s predecessor, we’ll see a monster hit that will, if you’ll pardon the pun, boldly go where no trek film has gone before.

my hopes are high. it’ll be knocked off the top 10 spot next weekend for sure, but i think it’ll still bring in about $45 million fri-sunday.