‘Angels & Demons’ summons a $48 million bow

Ron Howard’s "Angels & Demons" soared to a $48 million opening this weekend, narrowly edging out a stellar $43 million second-week performance by "Star Trek," according to estimates by Hollywood.com Box Office.

While hardly miraculous, Angels’ solid bow is the second-best opening of Tom Hanks’ career, behind “The Da Vinci Code’s” $77.1 million debut in 2006. Despite receiving better reviews than its predecessor, ‘Angels’ was widely expected to fly lower than ‘Da Vinci’ on account of the cooled-off controversy over the religious subject matter in Dan Brown’s novels. Still, the books’ worldwide infamy should guarantee returns of biblical proportions; ‘Da Vinci’ grossed $758.2 million globally, and ‘Angels’ has already racked up an additional $104.3 million from foreign territories. ‘Angels’ may also have had its wings clipped slightly by J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” which dropped a slim 46 percent in its second weekend — presumably thanks to good word of mouth about the well-reviewed film. A $43 million weekend haul means that the space saga has already reaped $147.6 million, making it the year’s fourth highest-grossing movie after just eleven days in theaters. Following a steep 69 percent slump last weekend, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (No. 3 with $14.8 million) recovered a bit, dipping just 44 percent to reach a cumulative gross of $151.1 million after three weekends.

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Faring even better, Matthew McConaughey’ s “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” (No. 4 with $6.9 million) and the Beyoncé-Ali Larter thriller “Obsessed” (No. 5 with $4.6 million) dropped off just 33 and 31 percent, respectively. These mid-budget genre pics have shown surprising resilience against the tide of blockbusters, demonstrating a strong market for counter-programming. The weekend boasted only two other high profile pics, both in limited release. Jennifer Aniston’s “Management” got a pink slip from moviegoers, grossing just $378,420 from 212 screens for a measly per-screen average of $1,785. Meanwhile, the caper comedy “The Brothers Bloom” was a bright spot on the specialty side, ringing up $82,000 from four theaters for a $20,500 per-theater haul. Just two weekends into the summer movie season, overall box office is up 16 percent over last year. And things are just heating up: Next week’s Memorial Day double-header of “Terminator Salvation” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” promises a weekend to remember at the multiplex. See you then!