By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 9, 2009 at 6:45AM
You can look at tracking all you want, and listen to studio marketers downplaying expectations. But truth is, if a movie plays as well as Star Trek does, the word gets out. The movie opened to an estimated $31 million on Friday (including Thursday night numbers), and we know that the WOM will be strong. So it's going to do a lot better than those $50-65 million estimates. UPDATE: It grossed an estimated $76.5 million for the weekend but scored only 35% under 25. Of course the core demo skewed older. Paramount has been spending the big bucks on luring the younger demo--which will likely expand on upbeat WOM.
When I sat down with the writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci at their DreamWorks bungalow on opening day, they were grinning because the reviews are the best of the year so far, an 84 on Metacritic and 91 among the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's my take. There's even Oscar talk. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Here's my Flip Cam interview about how they reinvented the five key Star Trek characters, the bromance between Kirk and Spock, how they couldn't even start writing the script for producer/director J.J. Abrams without some kind of go ahead from Leonard Nimoy, why they left out William Shatner, how they approached writing Transformers 1 and 2 and Cowboys and Aliens, and how they came to exec produce the Sandra Bullock rom-com The Proposal. The Star Trek sequel is already starting to keep them up at night.
originally posted on Variety.com