question of the day: Will ‘Angels & Demons’ beat ‘Star Trek’ at the box office this weekend?

Box office prognosticating is not something I want to become a regular thing here at FlickFilosopher.com, but I’m intrigued by the situation this weekend, with Star Trek returning for its second weekend as Angels & Demons opens.

Trek has had an extraordinary midweek this week, earning almost $20 million from Monday through Wednesday. (Thursday’s numbers aren’t in yet.) Which is nutty. That’s actually a little more than Iron Man — which Trek is being compared to as far as audience enthusiasm goes — earned over its first Monday-through-Wednesday period last year.

I think we’re going to see a very small drop for Star Trek this weekend — maybe even less than 25 percent. I’m gonna call Trek to take in between $50 and $60 million.
Now, we have Angels & Demons. Its prequel, The Da Vinci Code, opened on this same weekend — the weekend before Memorial Day — in 2006, and it earned $77 million that first weekend. Sequels usually open bigger than first films, and Angels is a much better movie than Code was. So you’d expect that Angels might open at $80 or $90 million.

That seems pretty unlikely, though, especially considering that it’s drawing on much the same audience that Trek is, surprisingly enough. I’d never have imagined that 60 percent of Trek’s opening-weekend crowd would be over 25, but it was. And those are the same people Angels would expect to be most interested in it, too. Whatever the case, fans and pros alike are pegging Angels in the $50 million range.

Which puts it right where Trek may be. Which makes the big question: Will Angels & Demons beat Star Trek at the box office this weekend?

And it means another ancillary question: Whichever film wins, might we have a weekend in which two movies break $50 million? My quick and dirty research suggests that that has never happened before (and if I’m wrong about that, please let me know).

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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