Will young people in space outperform a Canadian dude with claws? No one will know until J.J. Abrams' Star Trek begins screening to the general public tonight, but early reviews continue to be overwhelmingly positive and online advance ticket sales have been brisk, with Fandango claiming in a press release that the film is responsible for 91% of their daily ticket sales. Still, is it only geeks and cult fans who are excited about Star Trek this weekend?
"Let's be realistic: This is not a sure thing," says Logan Hill at Vulture, pointing to the lack of "bankable stars" and his opinion that "it's a reboot of a franchise that's become little more than a punch line to anyone over the age of 25, and simply isn't a firsthand reference for anyone younger." Also, heavy-duty advance online ticket sales were also reported for the R-rated Watchmen, which "underperformed estimates" by drawing (only) $55 million.
Of course, Star Trek is rated PG-13, and is shorter than Watchmen's 163-minute running time. Our own Matt Bradshaw predicted Star Trek would make $82 million this weekend, a few million less than Wolverine's gross last weekend. Other predictions so far have been more modest, ranging from $40 million (Box Office Prophets) to $65 million (Steve Mason at Big Hollywood) to $74 million (Box Office Guru). Variety, however, thinks it can top $100 million.
What do you think? Will Star Trek under perform, drawing only from its fan base? Or will it be an across-the-board, popular smash this weekend? Take our poll and let us know: Which estimate is most likely to be right?