Viacom Keeps On Trekin'
Viacom stock went where no other media stock had gone on Monday -- up. Surprisingly strong ticket sales for the new Star Trek, produced by Viacom-owned Paramount, buoyed the company's shares and kept it from becoming swept into the overall market vortex. To be sure, it did no more than tread water, inching up just 0.04 percent, but on a day when the Dow Jones fell 156 points, that was regarded as a solid accomplishment. CBS Inc., by contrast, which like Viacom is controlled by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements, fell 11 percent. Viacom's strength was evident even before word came that Paramount had significantly underestimated Star Trek 's performance on Sunday by a whopping $3 million. Final figures indicated that the movie earned $79.2 million, including preview screenings in many markets on Thursday night. Stronger-than-expected ticket sales on Sunday was attributed to positive word-of-mouth and augured well for the film's ability to withstand a slew of strong competitors in the weeks ahead. By contrast, the second weekend of Fox's X-Men Origins Wolverine came in at $26.41 million, significantly below studio estimates and 69 percent below the previous week's results. Likewise, its disappointing showing was blamed on poor word of mouth. Next Day Air, an urban comedy that was the only other film to open wide over the weekend, took in just $4.11 million. Overall, the top 12 films grossed $142.77 million, up 21.3 percent over the same weekend a year ago. Attendance was up 13.4 percent.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date) 1. Star Trek, Paramount, $75,204,289, 1 Wk. ($79,204,289) (including Thursday previews); 2 . X-Men Origins Wolverine , 20th Century Fox, $26,408,288, 2 Wks. ($129,032,435); 3. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Warner Bros., $10,258,141, 2 Wks. ($30,054,386); 4. Obsessed, Sony, $6,560,266, 3 Wks. ($56,207,576); 5. 17 Again, Warner Bros., $4,232,422, 4 Wks. ($53,994,515); 6. Next Day Air, Summit Ent. $4,111,043, (New); 7. The Soloist, Paramount, $3,949,430, 3 Wks. ($23,845,177); 8. Monsters vs. Aliens , Paramount, $3,260,440, 7 Wks. ($186,774,092); 9. Earth, Disney, $2,666,219, 3 Wks. ($26,264,242); 10. Hannah Montana The Movie, Disney, $2,193,043, 5 Wks. ($73,861,795).