Star Trek: More power, Scotty

Posted: May 24, 2013 at 3:03 a.m.

Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana star in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness. It came in first at last weekend’s box office and made more than $70 million.

Star Trek Into Darkness, the second film in J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the venerable film franchise, was the top movie at U.S. and Canadian theaters last weekend, taking in $70.2 million for Paramount Pictures.

The latest voyage of the starship Enterprise fell short of its predecessor, 2009’s Star Trek, which opened with $75.2 million.

Iron Man 3 dropped to second place with sales of $35.8 million, after two weeks in the top spot, said. The film from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel has generated $1.07 billion worldwide since it opened on May 3.

The two movies have helped re-energize the box office at the start of the summer movie season, which stretches to September. This weekend, two more high-grossing franchises return to theaters - The Hangover III from Warner Bros. and Fast & Furious 6 from Universal.

U.S. and Canadian movie sales have picked up since April, thanks to such films as Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby, though they have failed to match the pace set by Walt Disney Co.’s record-breaking The Avengers last year.

Star Trek Into Darkness, made for about $190 million, opened May 15, a day earlier than originally planned, and took in $84 million over those four days. It was forecast to take about $100 million in that period, the estimate of

Star Trek, Abrams’ first reboot of the sci-fi franchise in 2009, was also made by Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc. It generated $257.7 million domestically and had a worldwide total of $385.7 million, according to Box Office Mojo, another researcher.

In the sequel, the USS Enterprise is sent to battle an ingenious villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, following a devastating surprise attack on Starfleet. Chris Pine returns as the younger version of Captain James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto again plays Spock. The picture won positive ratings in 87 percent of 199 reviews surveyed by the website

Star Trek Into Darkness was the only new film opening in wide release last weekend.

In Iron Man 3, the ingenuity and confidence of Downey’s billionaire industrialist character, Tony Stark, are tested after a surprise attack destroys his laboratory and the armored suits he dons to become Iron Man.

Ben Kingsley stars as The Mandarin, the apparent terrorist who threatens the world order. Don Cheadle returns as Stark’s friend, James Rhodes, and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts.

Among other returning films, The Great Gatsby, from Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures, dropped to third from second place with $23.9 million.

The film, director Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about unrequited love set in the Roaring ’20s, has taken in $90.7 million since it opened on May 10. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the enigmatic Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, the object of his obsession.

Paramount’s Pain & Gain finished fourth with $3.2 million, followed by Fox’s The Croods, whose receipts totaled $3 million.

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 05/24/2013