'Star Trek' (Paramount) vs. 'Angels & Demons' (Sony)

Is there really much enthusiasm for a religious thriller this weekend? I realize that The Da Vinci Code made eleventy billion dollars worldwide despite widespread critical negativity, and that legions of fans support Dan Brown, Tom Hanks, and Ron Howard, but I'm not feeling the love for Angels & Demons, which opens on Friday.

I admit I'm biased. I managed to finish The Da Vinci Code, which was one of the most turgid, tortured, self-important works of fiction I've ever read, and don't have much regard for the movie version. I can understand why so many people went to see it, with the unbeatable combination of sensational subject matter, the promise of a thriller, and Tom Hanks' mullet. Yet how many came away satisfied, and demanding a sequel?

Early critical reaction to Angels & Demons has been tepid (54% at Rotten Tomatoes), but that didn't dissuade people before, so that probably won't be a factor. Our ace prognosticator Matt Bradshaw predicted that Angels & Demons would top the box office this weekend with $60 million, with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek dropping to the #2 spot after last weekend's $79.2 million haul. But could Star Trek retain its #1 position? The Movie Blog agrees with me on two points -- disappointment with The Da Vinci Code and lack of buzz for the sequel -- and also suggests that Star Trek's quality, excellent word of mouth, and expected repeat business could make the difference.

What do you think?

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