J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 Shows a Solid Debut

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

Director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg must have known they were taking a chance on Super 8 (Paramount), a nostalgic sci-fi period thriller that had a cast of mostly unknowns, but thanks to a brilliant last-minute marketing push by opening the mysterious project a day early, it topped the box office with an estimated $37 million in 3,379 theaters this weekend, $4.4 million of that coming from its 239 IMAX screens. With a solid B+ CinemaScore, it should continue to bring in business from word of mouth and with a reported production budget of $50 million, it shouldn’t be hard for it to be profitable.

Meanwhile, Matthew Vaughn’s superhero prequel X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox) dropped 55% in its second weekend, taking second place with roughly $25 million, bringing its 10-day total to $99 million. It also added another $42.2 internationally to bring its worldwide total to $223 million.

Todd Phillips’ comedy sequel The Hangover Part II was the first of two movies to cross the $200 million mark this weekend, dropping 41% to third place with $18.5 million, as it becomes the highest grossing movie of 2011 with $216.5 million. Globally, it took in $38.3 million and has grossed $432.1 including international.

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 dropped to fourth place with $16.6 million and $126.9 million total, a rather weak domestic showing for the $150 million budget animated movie. On the other hand, the sequel grossed $56.5 million internationally this weekend to bring its global total to $331 million total.

Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer’s popular pirate franchise Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides brought in $10.8 million in its fourth weekend for fifth place with $209 million grossed so far, putting it just ahead of Fast Five as the third-largest grosser of the year. Worldwide, it’s the highest grossing film of the year with $887 million amassed since opening in mid-May.

In fifth place, Kristen Wiig’s R-rated comedy Bridesmaids (Universal) continued its impressive run with another $10.1 million, down less than 16% from last week, and a total gross of $123.9 million.

Based on a popular series of children’s books, the family adventure movie Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (Relativity Media) took in an unimpressive $6.3 million for seventh place, averaging just $2.5k per site.

Expanding nationwide into 944 theaters, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics), starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, remained in eighth place for a second week with $6.1 million. It has grossed $14.2 million since opening last month and it’s looking very likely it may be Allen’s biggest hit since Hannah and her Sisters, which grossed $40 million in 1986.

Marvel Studios’ Thor (Paramount) dropped to ninth place with $2.4 million and $174 million total.

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $134.6 million, down 6% from the same weekend last year when The Karate Kid (Sony), starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, topped the box office with $56 million.

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) took eleventh place with $875 thousand and $2.4 million since opening over Memorial Day weekend. Rumors have it expanding nationwide on July 1.

Opening in limited release in just six theaters, Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip (IFC Films), starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, opened with $84 thousand, averaging $14.1 thousand per site.

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.