Just as moviegoers paid no attention to critics or conservative Catholics when The Da Vinci Code opened three years ago, they turned out mass-ively for Angels & Demons over the weekend, ignoring nearly universal condemnation by reviewers for the major newspapers and by the Catholic League, the nation's largest Catholic lay organization (although the official Vatican newspaper dismissed it as harmless). The Sony movie, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, grossed an estimated $48 million domestically and a whopping $104.3 million overseas, performing the strongest in Catholic countries, according to Daily Variety . While the sequel did not come close to equaling Da Vinci 's opening tally ($77 million domestically and $155 million overseas), it came in at the high end of analysts' forecasts and its foreign gross was by far the biggest of any film this year. Meanwhile, Angels & Demons received strong competition from Paramount's Star Trek , which took in about $43 million in its second weekend, to bring its 10-day total to $147.6 million. It actually outperformed Angels on Saturday and may also have done so on Sunday (final figures are due to be released later today). Nearly 12 percent of Star Trek 's gross has come from higher-priced tickets in IMAX theaters, but it is being evicted from those theaters next weekend by Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian. Coming in at No. 3 was the third week of X-Men Origins Wolverine , which earned $14.8 million, down 44 percent from the previous week. Opening in limited release, the Jennifer Aniston comedy Management took in an unfriendly $378,000 in 212 theaters. Overall, the box office continued on its hot streak, with ticket sales up about 4 percent over the comparable weekend a year ago.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Angels & Demons, $48 million; 2. Star Trek , $43 million; 3. X-Men Origins Wolverine , $14.8 million; 4. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, $6.9 million; 5. Obsessed, $4.6 million; 6. 17 Again , $3.4 million; 7. Monsters vs. Aliens , $3 million; 8. The Soloist , $2.4 million; 9. Next Day Air , $2.2 million; 10. Earth , $1.7 million.

18/05/2009