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While that’s not a July record by any means, Star Trek Beyond is bound to be one of the more notable openings out of the 12 live-action wide entries on this month’s schedule, potentially besting Ghostbusters three-day when that Paul Feig title hits marquees on July 16.

It’s just another indicator of the uphill battle that many franchise properties are facing in a summer B.O. atmosphere where family ‘five-quad’ movies remain king, and sequelitis is a bane. Many insiders predict that Finding Dory will hand off the No. 1 baton to Universal/Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets next weekend. The sixth title from Illumination is currently vying for an $80M-plus three-day at an estimated 4,100 theaters; and that’s as big as it gets for July 2016 opening projections at this point in time. Even though Universal’s July 29 release Jason Bourne hasn’t registered on tracking yet, it’s a hot commodity on social media according to RelishMix which reports that four of the film’s vid clips have a great viral repost rate of 18 to 1 (10 to 1 is average).

Should Star Trek Beyond open within its current range, it will be the third-best in the Star Trek feature canon. Since rebooting Star Trek for the big screen in 2009, Bad Robot/Skydance propelled the franchise’s debuts and grosses to an upper B.O. stratosphere with Star Trek  ($75.2M opening, domestic $257.7M, global $385.7M) and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness ($70.2M, domestic $228.8M, global $467.4M). In addition, the last two Star Trek movies have truly resonated overseas, a feat that the movies during the 1980s and 1990s fell short of accomplishing. The international B.O. on Star Trek jumped from $127.7M in 2009 to $238.6M in 2013 with China also jumping from $9M to $57M over the same point in time. While Trekkies stateside will be ever so precious about Star Trek Beyond, foreign audiences in burgeoning markets like Russia, South Korea, China and Latin America will be more open-minded.

Again, these are early forecasts for Star Trek Beyond, and a number of factors and ad spots could spike the threequel’s B.O. power in the weeks ahead. First, that mid-July release date for Star Trek Beyond has historically been a rich period for launching fanboy properties such as the Dark Knight sequels ($158M-$161M FSS), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65M), Ant-Man ($57.2M)and The Wolverine ($53M)So, Paramount has that working in its favor.

'Star Trek Beyond' Could Open To $60M In July Ruled By 'Secret Life Of Pets'

The studio is also banking on generating a huge amount of buzz out of Comic-Con with a fan premiere of the Justin Lin-directed movie on Wednesday, July 20 — an event that will truly send hashtags by the thousands across social. Also on that day, at select Imax and PLF screens in U.S. and Canada, Paramount will show the entire Bad Robot/Skydance trilogy of Star Trek movies for the price of a single marathon ticket.

2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness skewed the highest among older males, even more than the 2009 version: 64% to 60% guys and 73% to 65% over 25. And it comes as no surprise to hear that Star Trek Beyond is also tracking at an 83% total awareness in that demo. Hence, this past week, Paramount made a point to annex females and the under 25 bunch by roping in pop star Rihanna to its Star Trek Beyond campaign. A trailer dropped Monday that included her new song “Sledgehammer”. In a YouTube message (below), Rihanna revealed to fans that she’s a Trekkie; hence why she booked the singing job. And her music video for “Sledgehammer”, released yesterday, is currently clocking 3.3M views on YouTube. Tentpoles that have attached themselves to performance artists in this viral age have proven to work, read when Universal unveiled the first teaser for Fifty Shades of Grey, they did it through Beyonce’s social media in an effort to expand the property’s demo beyond its core book fans and access an entirely fresh, younger crowd. While iSpot.TV shows that the current TV spend for Star Trek Beyond has been heavily placed on such testosterone programs like the NBA final games and the Stanley Cup, Paramount has also shelled on such shows as NBC’s The Voice and AMC’s Fear of the Walking Dead which have their fair share of females too.

First choice for Star Trek Beyond is at 12% among men over 25, 7% guys under 25 and 4% women under 25.  In unaided awareness — that poll category which tells a studio if their marketing is truly working as potential moviegoers cite their upcoming title without any prompting — Star Trek Beyond is strongest with men over 25 at 7%, followed by men under 25 at 5%, and women under 25 at 3%.

It’s not clear how the death of Star Trek Beyond‘s Anton Yelchin will affect moviegoing. In the past, audiences have shown an interest in seeing a performer’s final appearance on the big screen, i.e. Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and Paul Walker in Furious 7. 

Coming away from CinemaCon in April, many were perplexed that Paramount never devoted a space in its presentation to Star Trek Beyond, opting for glimpses in its sizzle reel. That said, the Melrose lot had a definite plan: They wanted to show off their goods and generate headlines at a May Star Trek fan event where a new trailer dropped.

On social, Star Trek Beyond boasts the largest social media universe  (across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) out of the July live-action tentpoles with 166.6M, followed by Ghostbusters (142.5M) and Jason Bourne (67.8M) per RelishMix. The Secret Life of Pets is tops overall with 221.5M and a viral pass-around rate for its videos of 8 to 1. There’s also a Kevin Hart component to Secret Life of Pets’ social thrust. After Jason Bourne, Ghostbusters videos are re-posting at a viral rate of 11 to 1 while Star Trek Beyond is at 6 to 1.

Below is Rihanna discussing her fascination with Star Trek:


“Watching the Enterprise crash and burn, I felt like I was destroying a legacy,” says Idris Elba in a new video. The Emmy-nominated actor plays Krall, an alien reptile determined to bring down the Federation in Star Trek Beyond, released on July 22.

Described by Chris Pine (Captain Kirk) as a “nihilist,” Krall objects to the expansion of the United Federation of Planets, defended by Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise. Elba, who also stars inFinding Dory (out on July 29), sees his character as a dangerous predator – and more than a match for Kirk. If Kirk is the naive fish Dory, Elba has said, then Krall is Jaws.

Idris Elba as Krall
Idris Elba as Krall

“We wanted him to have a complex reason behind his bad-guy-ness,” says Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty. Krall may be the film’s main villain, but director Justin Lin was keen to give him a relatable motivation: “I wanted a character that is there to deconstruct the Federation’s ideals, but to do it in a way that has a very valid philosophy.”

Chris Pine with director Justin Lin
Chris Pine with director Justin Lin

Not much is known about Krall’s origins, but Elba has already quashed one fan theory that identified Krall as a Gorn, a reptilian species who appeared in two episodes of the television series. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Elba confirmed that Krall is a member of an entirely new species in the Star Trek universe.

Karl Urban as Bones, with Zachary Quinto as Spock
Karl Urban as Bones, with Zachary Quinto as Spock

In order to play Krall, Elba spent more than three hours each morning in the makeup chair before filming. Despite his claustrophobia, he said he found the process rewarding: “I learned so much about working with prosthetics, and how that can influence the performance.”

“Krall’s a character who’s deeply steeped in hatred — in my opinion, a well-earned hatred — for the Federation,” he said. “It felt quite political. There’s a relatability to what’s happening in our world. Not everybody’s happy with what everybody calls the good guys.”

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