Animated movies seem to be more successful than ever at the box office, with these movies representing four of the top 10 movies this year (Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets and Kung Fu Panda 3). However, this may be the rare weekend where a highly-anticipated animated movie doesn't come out on top, with two-time winner The Secret Life of Pets going up against 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Collision Course, Paramount's Star Trek Beyond and Warner Bros.' horror-thriller Lights Out in wide release this weekend. If our projections are accurate, Star Trek Beyond should have no trouble coming out on top this weekend.
Box Office Mojo reveals that Ice Age 5 has the advantage when it comes to theater count, debuting this weekend in approximately 3,900 theaters, with the Star Trek sequel opening in roughly 3,500 theaters and Lights Out debuting in 2,900 theaters. Despite its theater count advantage, both Star Trek Beyond and Lights Out are bona fide critical hits, while Ice Age 5 is the complete opposite. Star Trek Beyond has amassed an impressive 91% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 32 positive reviews out of 35, while Lights Out has a perfect 100%, with 13 glowing reviews and zero negative reviews thus far. The fifth Ice Age movie currently has a 15% score, with just six positive reviews out of 39. We're predicting that Star Trek Beyond will easily take the top spot with $71.5 million.
If Star Trek Beyond hits this mark in theaters this weekend, it will fall just short of 2009's Star Trek, which opened with $75.2 million, en route to $257.7 million domestic, but it will debut just ahead of 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness' $70.1 million opening weekend, en route to $228.7 million domestic. The early reactions to this sci-fi sequel were incredible positive, with most critics and fans agreeing that this new movie is much better than the divisive Star Trek Into Darkness, which will likely translate into this sequel faring slightly better than its predecessor on opening weekend.
Star Trek Beyond, the highly anticipated next installment in the globally popular Star Trek franchise, created by Gene Roddenberry and reintroduced by J.J. Abrams in 2009, returns with director Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious franchise) at the helm of this epic voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her intrepid crew. In "Beyond," the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
Ice Age: Collision Course is set to take second place with an estimated $31.4 million, which would represent the lowest debut in the animated franchise's history. Scrat's epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, traveling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.
The top five will be rounded out by holdovers The Secret Life of Pets ($24.6 million), Ghostbusters ($23.8 million) and the new horror thriller Lights Out with $12.5 million. From producer James Wan (The Conjuring) comes a tale of an unknown terror that lurks in the dark. When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn't real when the lights went out...and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger...once the lights go out.
The top 10 will likely be rounded out by Finding Dory ($6 million), The Legend of Tarzan ($5.6 million), Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates ($4.8 million), The Purge: Anarchy ($3.2 million) and The Infiltrator ($2.3 million). Also opening in limited release is Fox Searchlight's Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Mirror Images Ltd.'s Beta Test, The Film Arcade's Don't Think Twice, Reliance Big Pictures' Madaari, Strand's Summertime and Well Go USA's Train to Busan. Fox Searchlight will release Absolutely Fabulous in roughly 250 theaters, while Beta Test is slated to open in 18 theaters, but we don't have theater count data for the rest of these limited release titles.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Universal Pictures will debut the long-awaited Jason Bourne in theaters, alongside STX Entertainment's Bad Moms and Lionsgate's Nerve, which debuts Wednesday, July 27. Also opening in limited release is Sony Pictures Classics' Equity, A24's Into the Forest, IFC's The Land, Dimension Films' Viral and Open Road Films' documentary Gleason. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the top 10 estimates and again on Tuesday for the next wave of predictions. Until then, check out our predictions for the weekend of July 22 below.