Sony’s “Angels & Demons” finished the weekend with $48 million in its collection plate, a far cry from "The Da Vinci Code’s" $77.1 million debut weekend in 2006.
But like its predecessor, “Demons” had a terrific opening overseas, grossing $104.3 in 96 countries; Tom Hanks and Ron Howard’s thriller was No. 1 in every territory in which it opened. That brings the worldwide cume to $152 million.
The film’s worldwide opening weekend was the biggest since last summer’s "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($147 million).
Overall, the box office enjoyed its second “up” weekend in a row. Box office returns year-to-date are currently 16 percent higher than May 2008, and attendance is almost up 14 percent.
The adaptation of Dan Brown’s 2000 novel got off to a so-so start, grossing $16.6 million in 3,500 theaters on Friday. On Saturday, it grossed $17.8 million, and it pulled in $13.6 million on Sunday.
“Angels’” first weekend doesn’t compare with recent blockbusters debuts such as “X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s” $85 million and “Star Trek’s” $76.5 million.
For its part, Sony said it’s satisfied with the take. As previously reported by TheWrap, the studio did not expect "Angels" to match or outdo "The Da Vinci Code," which was already a cultural phenomenon when the film adaptation opened in May 2006. Brown’s 2000 novel "Angels & Demons" has sold less than half of the number of copies "Da Vinci" has sold. A Sony executive previously told TheWrap "Angels" was expected to perform in the 40s.
“This is exactly what we had hoped for, domestically,” Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution, told TheWrap. “We knew ‘Angels’ was not going to be ‘Da Vinci Code.’ The book sold less than half of ‘Da Vinci,’ but we’re going to make about two thirds of what ‘Da Vinci’ made at the box office. This is an excellent result.”
Bruer said overseas audiences respond to both films’ subject matter, cast and locations — perhaps more than North American moviegoers. Sixty-five percent of “Code’s” $757 million worldwide gross has been made outside the U.S.
“Angels,” set mostly in Rome, made $1.4 million on 800 screens in Italy by early Wednesday.
Sony reported that 52 percent of “Angels’” audience was female and the age breakdown was an even 50 percent over-and-under 30. It has a good chance of showing some legs in the coming weeks: Adult thrillers tend to have more staying power than kid and teen fare, and “Angels” will remain the only adult-focused thriller in marketplace until Tony Scott’s “The Taking of Pelham 123” opens June 12, also from Sony.
Right behind "Demons" was “Star Trek,” which fell only 43 percent from last weekend — a feat considering movies with huge debuts usually fall by 50-60 percent in their second weekends. “Trek” grossed another $43 million to take its total in the U.S. to $148 million.
Overseas, "Star Trek," opened Friday in China to an estimated $1.8 million from 723 screens. The overall weekend gross was $21 million from 57 territories, lifting the foreign take to $70 million.
"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" landed in third with $14.8 million — a 44 percent drop from its take last weekend. Matthew McConaughey’s romantic comedy "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" continued chugging along with $6.8 million and "Obsessed" rounded out the top five with $4.5 million.
On the indie side, the weekend’s other newcomers didn’t crack the top ten. “Management,” a comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn, was No. 14 with $378,420 in 212 theaters.
“The Brothers Bloom” had an august debut, clearing $82,000 in only four theaters. IFC’s “Summer Hours” followed “Brothers” in the No. 16 with $47,500 in two theaters, then “Jerichow” with 8,000 in two theaters and “Big Man Japan” with $7,300.
Next weekend will see the Memorial Day holiday lead to big grosses, with Fox’s "Night at the Museum" sequel and Paramount’s "Terminator: Salvation" the big movies joining the crowded release slate.