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Star Trek Opens Strong; Kurtzman and Orci Talk

Photo of Anne Thompson 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.
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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

This article is related to: Directors, Franchises, Genres, Video, Stuck In Love, Interviews , J.J. Abrams, Star Trek, Sci-fi, Sequel, Action, Screenwriters


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.