Angels & Demons opened strongly in North America over the weekend with an estimated gross of $48m, though that was only just enough to knock a still powerful Star Trek off the top of the chart.

Arriving three years after predecessor The Da Vinci Code, Sony’s Angels, produced for the studio by Imagine Entertainment, took its $48m from 3,527 theatres, for a per-theatre average of $13,609.

The science-versus-religion thriller, another adaptation of the work of Da Vinci Code novelist Dan Brown, opened simultaneously in the international marketplace, taking $104.3m, for a worldwide tally of $152.3m.

The domestic take was in line with expectations even though Da Vinci had debuted, in May 2006, with $77.1m. While it got slightly better reviews than its predecessor, the Rome-set Angels is based on a less popular Brown novel.

In its second weekend, Paramount’s Star Trek saw its take decline less than 43% to an estimated $43m (from 3,860 theatres, for an average of $11,140). The sci-fi franchise re-boot has grossed $147.6m so far, making it the best domestic performer of all the Star Trek films. It is already the franchise’s best international performer.

Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine also showed good legs, declining 44% in its third weekend to an estimated $14.8m from 3,892 theatres - for a $3,803 average.

Summit’s Next Day Air was the only other top ten film to decline by more than 40%, making for another strong weekend at the domestic box office overall. Paramount/DreamWorks’ Monster Vs Aliens was down by only 8%, to $3m from 1,931 theatres, an average $1,554 per screen.

  • New releases getting limited openings included Samuel Goldwyn Films’ Steve Zahn/Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy Management, which took an estimated $378,420 from 212 screens (average - $1,785), Summit’s Rachel Weisz/Adrien Brody/Mark Ruffalo romantic adventure The Brothers Bloom, which grossed an estimated $82,000 from four theatres (for a strong $20,500 average), and IFC’s French drama Summer Hours, which earned an estimated $48,200 from two theatres (for an even stronger $24,100 average).
  • Next weekend’s wide releases are: Fox’s family adventure sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, with Ben Stiller once again starring for director Shawn Levy; Warner’s sci-fi action franchise entry Terminator Salvation, starring Christian Bale and directed by McG, opening on Thursday, and Paramount’s Wayans brothers genre spoof Dance Flick

Estimated Top 10 North America May 15-17 2009

Film (Dist)/Int’l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date:

1 (-) Angels & Demons (Sony) SPRI $48m -

2 (1) Star Trek (Paramount) PPI $43m $147.6m

3 (2) X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox) Fox Int’l $14.8m $151.1m

4 (3) Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (Warner Bros) New Line Int’l $6.9m $40.1m

5 (4) Obsessed (Sony) SPRI $4.5m $62.6m

6 (5) 17 Again (Warner Bros) WBPI $3.4m $58.4m

7 (8) Monsters Vs Aliens (DreamWorks Animation-Paramount) PPI $3m $190.5m

8 (7) The Soloist (DreamWorks-Paramount) UPI $2.4m $27.5m

9 (6) Next Day Air (Summit) Summit Int’l $2.3m $7.6m

10 (9) Earth (Disneynature) BBC Worldwide/Greenlight/WDSMPI $1.7m $29.1m