MONDAY AM: Paramount is reporting that Sunday’s grosses were down only 23%, or $21.2M, so that Star Trek ended the weekend with $79.3M.

SUNDAY AM: Official Paramount figures for Star Trek‘s North American grosses: Thursday Pre-Midnight $4M, Friday $26.8M, Saturday $27.4M, Sunday estimate $18.3M. (…The studio took $3M of Paramount’s $7M previously attributed to Thursday’s 7 PM-Midnight screenings and moved it to Friday’s take because the grosses were for 12:01 AM shows.)

Friday-Sunday $72.5M. Total Opening $76.5M. Star Trek passed Fast & Furious as the 2nd biggest opening of 2009 behind only X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Cinemascore was an A. Exit polls show that the audience was 60%/40% male-female, with 65%/35% over/under age 25.

Weekend Top 10
1. Star Trek (Paramount) OPENER [3,849 Theaters] Wkd $72.5M, Cume $76.5M
2. Wolverine (20th Century Fox) Week 2 [4,102] Wkd $27M (-68%), Cume $129.6M
3. Ghosts Girlfriends Past (WB) Week 2 [3,175] Wkd $10.4M (-32%), Cume $30.2M
4. Obsessed (Universal) Week 3 [2,602] Wkd $6.6M, Cume $56.2M
5. 17 Again (NL/Warner Bros) Week 4 [1,903] Wkd $4.4M, Cume $54.1M
6. Next Day Air (Summit) OPENER [1,138] Wkd $4M
7. The Soloist (DW/Paramount) Week 3 [2,090] Wkd $3.6M, Cume $23.5M
8. Monsters v Aliens (DWA/Paramount) Week 7 [2,185] Wkd $3.3M, Cume $186.8M
9. Earth (Disney) Week 3 [1,794] Wkd $2.4M, Cume $26M
10. Hannah Montana (Disney) Week 5 [2,301] Wkd $2.4M, Cume $74M

SATURDAY 10:30 PM: Sources tell me that Paramount’s Star Trek did $26M Saturday. That’s 9% more than the J.J. Abrams reboot made on Friday, which is a surprise and demonstrates that the pic is widening well beyond its rabid fanbase of Trekkies. I hear the studio is now confident the 3 1/2-weekend total on 3,849 theaters will reach $75M (which includes Thursday night’s $7M screenings and Sunday estimate of $18M). The 3-day weekend totals $68M.

Insiders tell me Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine added $11.6M Saturday, which was +40% from its $8.2M Friday, for a $28M second weekend. The movie will have made nearly $130 domestic in its first 10 days of release.

FRIDAY PM/SATURDAY AM: The North American opening for Paramount’s No. 1 Star Trek grosses Friday was $24 million from 3,849 theaters. So, adding in the $7M from Thursday 7 PM-Midnight screenings, the reimagined space odyssey has made $31 million so far. My studio insiders say the total weekend number now could easily reach $72M. “But it still has a shot at $75M if it gets any bump on Saturday,” an exec explains. To put that in perspective, a domestic weekend total under $50M would have meant the pic didn’t attract a new and younger audience and relied instead on the franchise’s older but loyal fanbase of Trekkies. It was risky for Paramount to market the movie as “not your father’s Star Trek”. But the critical reviews for JJ Abrams’ reboot are 96% positive. 

I hear the studio is celebrating international figures already: how “it’s pretty spectacular” that Star Trek’s Friday debut in the UK, Australia, and Germany made almost the same as Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s in those territories last weekend. Star Trek opened day and date in 54 countries Friday, and the goal of this new pic was to finally attract more filmgoers overseas. “Remember, this movie franchise has never done $100M international before,” an exec reminds me last night.

No. 2 was Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine which made $8.2 million Friday (-76% from a week ago) from 4,102 theaters for a projected $28M weekend and new cume of $131M. It crossed $200M today in worldwide grosses. No. 3 was New Line/Warner Bros’ Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with a $3.1M Friday (-46% from a week ago) from 3,175 theaters for an expected $10.5M weekend and new cume of $30.5M. No. 4 was Screen Gem/Sony’s Obsessed with $2M Friday from 2,602 theater for a predicted $6.5M weekend and new cume of $56M. No. 5 was Summit Entainment’s Next Day Air with only a $1.4M opening on the bottom end of expectations from 1,138 theaters for maybe a lousy $4.3M weekend.

FRIDAY 10:50 AM: Sources tell me that Thursday screenings starting at 7 PM, including midnight shows, made approximately $7 million for Star Trek. “There was a big core fan turnout,” one of my insiders says, “so you can’t extrapolate to weekend numbers.” Nevertheless, it’s a great start. (Photo by Jim Stevenson of trekkies buying tickets at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.)

But there are still cautionary words around Hollywood that Star Trek could still wind up the next Watchmen (i.e. disappointing) because of the built-in fan base, the big presales, the Imax heat. I don’t get such talk. Way different movies, especially with JJ Abrams’ reboot garnering all those critical raves. As for today, expect early matinee numbers to be very high. But Hollywood won’t be able to get a real handle on Friday’s figures until the late afternoon or early evening. As for international where the reimagined Star Trek really needs to show strength to set it apart from the disappointing foreign takes of its predecessors, rival studios are telling me the overseas openings “weren’t that hot”. And, remember, Star Trek’s budget was $165M. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine will cross $200 million worldwide today as it starts its 2nd week in theaters — amazing. The global box office is on fire!

THURSDAY 2:45 PM: Now some of my box office gurus are upping their estimates, predicting Star Trek could do $75 million this weekend with $8M or even $9M tonight. That’s very aggressive.

THURSDAY 12:30 PM: Sure the tracking services are saying Star Trek will only make $50 million for the 3-day weekend. But even Paramount is convinced that JJ Abrams’ reboot of the TV/movie franchise will get up to $60M. And based on my reporting Hollywood generally is thinking at least $65M, not even counting the $5 million that could be generated starting at 7 PM tonight when Star Trek officially starts screening in selected areas around North America. There’s no doubt this is a difficult pic to gauge since it’s been 7 years since the last Star Trek actioner Nemesis hit theaters, and nearly 30 years after the first in the movie franchise Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and a lifetime from the original TV series aired 1966-1969.

Meanwhile, the reviews have been surprisingly and uniformly great with 90+% positive on even from the “cream of the crop” critics. Comparative films are other reboots like Batman Begins which opened to $48M on June 15, 2005, and Casino Royale which opened to $40.8M on November 17, 2006.  Both reinventions of franchise films had trouble harnessing interest in the younger male segment at first and were strongly driven by older males. But Paramount’s strategy by opening today at 7 PM is that this will allow Trekkies to come out Thursday then go to work on Friday and tell people how much they liked it and thus allow word of mouth to spread into the weekend and boost the original $50M three-day estimate.

Let’s be frank. This new Star Trek is expected to do solidly, and maybe even spectacularly, in its 3,800 domestic theaters. But what really counts with this reboot is foreign. The pic is opening day and date in 54 countries this weekend, but some key markets are opening later: China on May 15th, Japan May 29th, Mexico June 5th. The fact is that Star Trek has done virtually bupkis overseas over the years because the scifi franchise never caught on. And Paramount has set out with JJ Abrams to change all that. I think that’s an achievable goal because the old Star Trek movies started “in the middle” so to speak, assuming that audiences knew all the backstory. But Abrams’ version smartly starts at the beginning so international audiences as well as young North American viewers can get on board from the beginning.