"'Star Trek' remains a fan-boy movie. It doesn't seem to have the same kind of cross-over appeal as say an 'Iron Man' or some of these others," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "It's a very specific brand, but I think the general public would love this movie, because it's such an action movie. But to get a hundred-million-plus opening weekend, unless you're 'Twilight,' you really have to cross over to all audiences."
Paramount points out that overseas business is up in many markets, though, so worldwide, the sequel is off to a better start.
"Because of the nature of the franchise, because of how many movies have been made and the various forms of the TV shows, I'm not sure that 'Star Trek' goes by the rules of normal sequels. I think each movie stands on its own, because it's a unique franchise," said Don Harris, Paramount's head of distribution. "My goal was always that we grow the franchise. We're clearly seeing by today's numbers that the movie is being embraced on a worldwide basis in a way we've never seen before."
Harris said that domestically, "Into Darkness" finished its first weekend 6 percent ahead of revenues for 2009's "Star Trek," which got a head-start with $4 million in Thursday night previews to give it a $79.2 million haul through the first Sunday.
But "Into Darkness" had a full day of screenings Thursday plus its Wednesday IMAX business. Unlike the first movie, which played only in 2-D, the sequel also had the benefit of 3-D screenings that cost a few dollars more. Yet even with the 3-D upcharge and the earlier debut, it came away with just $4.9 million more than its predecessor through Sunday.