Paramount Pictures was looking at a busy week of competition on July 22 for “Star Trek: Beyond,” primarily from the animated feature “Ice Age: Collision Course” and a second week of the “Ghostbusters” reboot.
But it looks like a rather big box office surprise might be the real competition for “Beyond” if it doesn’t have a strong opening weekend.
“The Secret Life of Pets” from Universal Pictures posted a second solid weekend, losing just half of its massive opening the weekend before, to hold on to the top spot at the box office. Its $50.6 million second week bested “Ghostbusters,” which pulled in $46 million on its premiere, debuting in second place.
That brings the two-week total of “Pets” to $203.2 million, according to The Numbers, and a film that could possibly grab another $30 million next week, especially with “Ice Age” getting a cold reception from critics. Then again, “Collision Course” is part of an animated franchise that already has generated $2.8 billion worldwide, so it’s possible “Ice Age” and “Pets” could cancel each other out.
“Ghostbusters” finished about the middle of its projected opening weekend. While it earned a “fresh” certification from Rotten Tomatoes, it is not getting strong word-of-mouth. Of nearly 84,000 people the review aggregator polled, a little more than half said they would recommend the film to others.
That could mean a significant second-week drop for the female-dominated cast, taking it out of second-week competition for “Beyond.”
Primary projections have “Beyond” opening between $48 million and $60 million. So as long as moviegoers don’t ignore critics of “Collision Course” and inflate that film’s opening weekend, “Beyond” has a chance of debuting in the top spot.
Of course, no one can count out “Ice Age” just yet. The film has opened in several international markets already, earning $53.5 million this past weekend, according to Deadline. It already has earned $127 million overseas before a single theater in North America has loaded a reel of the film. Whether that will carry over to the domestic audience has yet to be seen.
In fact, some predictions have “Ice Age” in almost the same opening range as “Beyond,” so it could really be a toss up.
Paramount also needs a big weekend for “Beyond.” So far, the studio has released nine pictures in 2016, grossing $358.3 million domestically, led by “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” with $80.8 million total. Paramount, according to The Numbers, is demanding just 6 percent market share, and is well behind the Walt Disney Co., which has grossed $1.9 billion through 11 films so far. Twentieth Century Fox is the only other studio to cross the $1 billion mark this year, doing it with 14 films led by “Deadpool.”
As of early Monday morning, “Beyond” was impressing 90 percent of the critics polled by Rotten Tomatoes — only three thumbs down out of 29 reviewers to that point. “Collision Course” had a 16 percent approval rating from 37 critics polled so far.
Then again, “Ghostbusters” impressed 73 percent of more than 230 critics, and that wasn’t enough to knock “Pets” out of first place.
We’ll find out soon enough. “Star Trek: Beyond,” starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana, opens July 22.