Demons Tops, “Trek” Strong *Updated*

Updated (5/17): Both “Angels and Demons” and “Star Trek” saw big jumps on Saturday with ‘Angels’ scoring $19M & ‘Trek’ $18M. It’s now looking like a $48M weekend for ‘Angels’ and $42M for ‘Trek’.

‘Angels’ is doing enormous business in overseas markets with $104M from 96 countries, the biggest overseas opening since last year’s “Indiana Jones” sequel. Also of note is the ‘Trek’ domestic drop-off is just 44% which is truly stellar.

Original (5/16): “Angels and Demons” looks set to top the box-office this weekend with “The Da Vinci Code” sequel pulling in $17 million on Friday. With the expected mostly adult crowd boosting numbers on Saturday and some of Sunday, the film will end up around $45-50 million – about equal to Sony’s estimates and less than what other studios had predicted says Deadline Hollywood Daily.

Guessing the film’s numbers has been a tricky prospect. ‘Da Vinci’ was a book that was part of the cultural zeitgeist and was known to many who’d never read it, thus the film could pull in not only the huge literary audience but a lot of people outside the general demographic (ie. under 25’s) who wanted to understand the hype without devoting the time to reading Dan Brown’s novel.

Though often high on the best seller lists and almost unanimously scoring far better reviews than ‘Da Vinci’, ‘Angels’ has only sold about half as many copies as ‘Da Vinci’ and comes of a first film adaptation that was critically slammed despite being a big commercial success. With notably less publicity than ‘Da Vinci’, far less controversy, preview screenings held quite close to release, and a more competitive marketplace to unfold in – the ‘must see’ buzz just hasn’t materialized this time.

‘Angels’ scored mixed reviews overall, with better notices coming from international critics than their US counterparts. While production values and the visuals were praised (especially its near seamless blending of location shooting and studio sets), the film’s ridiculous plotting and threadbare characters were notably criticized. Still, almost every review cited the film as considerably better than its predecessor, especially in terms of its pacing and entertainment value, though very few consider it anything better than by-the-numbers Hollywood big studio fluff.

The scores however don’t reflect as wide a margin between the entries. A 37% T-meter score and 5.1/10 average score on Rotten Tomatoes is only a touch above the 24% & 4.7/10 for ‘Da Vinci’ and exactly equal to last fortnight’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. A similar situation over at Metacritic where ‘Angels’ scored a 49/100 over Da Vinci’s 46/100, though ‘Wolverine’ scored 43/100 in that case. At the IMDb ‘Angels’ got a 7.1/10 score compared with Da Vinci’s 6.4/10 score and Wolverine’s 6.8/10 score.

‘Angels’ however will rely a lot on international revenue. ‘Da Vinci’ made $217 million in the US, but $540 million in the foreign market. A similar situation (albeit with smaller totals) is expected to happen here, especially as there’s far less competition for screens overseas right now – even with the reboot factor the new “Star Trek” isn’t doing big numbers globally, while both “Terminator Salvation” and Pixar’s “Up” won’t be released until June and late Summer respectively in overseas markets.

The other big question this weekend is the “Star Trek” drop-off. With the buzz still soaring high on J.J. Abrams reboot of the franchise, Trek took in $12.5 million on its second Friday with the weekend total expected to sit in the low $40 million. This would mark a drop in the mid-high 40’s percentile for the weekend, extremely healthy, and makes it pretty damn sure this ‘Trek’ will finish comfortably well above the $200 million mark domestically when its all over.

Third was “Wolverine” with a $4.1M take on Friday for a $12-14 million weekend overall, about a 50% drop which is much smoother than last weekend’s 69% plummet to $26 million. The film is now looking to likely close out its theatrical run in the $170-180 million range.