So it’s Avon Barksdale against Stringer Bell again. This time in films. Nathan Rabin says that Next Day Air isn’t that bad. So it sounds like Avon got the quality and Stringer’s got the money. Ain’t that always the way?


So there’s a new Star Trek film, you might have noticed. I am not a fan, as my good friend Miss Alexandra DuPont noted. But that’s not the issue here. The issue here is a film that cost at least $200 Million dollars coming out the second week of May.

How big will it be? The ceiling seems to be around $75. Some were tagging the film for a $50 Million weekend before release. Paramount is said to be happy with a little more than that. The film plays, but the problem is that the movie has a lot of negatives. And those negatives have nothing to do with the movie, and have everything to do with the last ten years of Star Trek.

Simply put, Star Trek is in the unenviable Batman Begins position of relaunching a franchise that ended by essentially flashing children (and that’s not too far from the truth considering that a high percentage of people with a a history of sexual troubles are Trek fans. This actually came up when I met Mark “Luke Mother-Fucking Skywalker” Hamill. He brought it up, mind you. Because there was a study released recent to our talk.) As much as the internets may be hyped for the film, we live in a bubble in some ways, and that bubble doesn’t necessarily translate to the outside world. People genuinely like this movie, and though the hate train has only a few passengers critically (Ebert went “meh” while Armond White and David Poland essentially called it “watchable but terrible”), the problem is getting people to leap into a known quantity that has spent the last couple years being shit.

I mean, make no mistake, Trek used to be big theatrically. When The Voyage Home hit, it was one of the top five grossers of the year. The first film made a lot of money (but Paramount may have held it in theaters because it was super-expensive) and the second film was also huge. The problem is all the spin offs and the attitude of Trek fans in general. It’s just not a cool thing. But nowadays, Trek can be cool because Kirk is vaguely similar to our current president. Both were modeled on John F. Kennedy.

The math is the math. This could have been huge had it opened in December, because it would have had no real competition and room for a word of mouth play. Now, at this moment, it’s got Wolverine before it, and next week offers Angels and Demons, and that’s going to be huge. Then there’s Memorial day weekend, which offers Terminator 4 and Night at the Museum 2. These are all films that should get to $200. So should Trek, but it’s got a bad weekend to start. Sure, it’s possible word of mouth could help, but it can only help so much on films like this. Mostly because people are going to have to see this to see it, and a lot of that audience is going to wait for DVD. This has long been Paramount’s comfort food, and also its safety net. Here they’ve spent a lot of money to launch it again.

Even if the film opens, which it will, there’s just so many films coming after it, and long play isn’t really possible mid-stream May. Trek should be off at least 50% next week. because that’s the nature of the business, and by the end of the month it should be petering out. The question is: Will Paramount be happy with people liking the new film but not turning a profit until way down the pike? Even if it opens to $80 – which is out of the question – it will still have to deal with being a summer picture. Will Star Trek still be on the screens when Transformers 2 hits? Not very many, and that’s only a couple of weeks away. Paramount spent a lot of money on this film, and it shows, and they’ve walked the walk. Their problem is that Star Trek is still Star Trek .


Star Trek takes the weekend. Wolverine falls. I’m gonna go big on Trek, but I think I’m going big. I think it could be a puffer-fish.

1. Star Trek - $71.5 Million
2. Wolveriner – $28.5 Million
3. Ghosts of Some Shit - $8.7 Million
4. Obsessed – $6.1 Million
5. Zac Efron Poops in Your Mouth - $4.2 Million

And then Sunday… Bloody Sunday.